Cultural Specificities in Carnatic and Hindustani Music: Commentary on the Saraga Open Dataset


  • Lara Pearson Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics



music information retrieval, open dataset, Indian music, Carnatic, Hindustani


This commentary explores features of the "Saraga" article and open dataset, discussing some of the issues arising. I argue that the CompMusic project and this resulting dataset are impressive for their sensitivity to cultural specificities of the Hindustani and Carnatic musical styles; for example, the dataset includes manual annotations based on music theoretical concepts from within the styles, rather than imposing conceptual categories from outside. However, I propose there are aspects of the dataset's manual annotations that require clarification in order for them to be used as ground truths by other researchers. In addition, I raise questions regarding the representativeness of the dataset – an issue that has ethical implications.