History of the project
In the early 1980s a group of young men, Bernard Bel, the late James Arnold and Joep Bor founded the International Society for Traditional Arts Research (ISTAR), based in New Delhi. Soon one of the present authors, Wim van der Meer, joined the team. In 1983 they met Dr.J.J.Bhabha of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA, Mumbai) who had a dream. This dream was to develop a system of notation that would be specifically fit to describe, analyse and even reproduce Indian music with all its fine nuances and inflections. And one of the young men of ISTAR, Bernard Bel, being a IT engineer, came up with a possible solution – that was to become known as the Melodic Movement Analyser (MMA). With the help of a Ford Foundation grant and the support of NCPA a research lab was built at NCPA itself, using a combination of AD converters, filters and other hardware (ISTAR Newsletter 3-4, 1984-85, p. 54-59) that was hooked up to an Apple II and later III computer. This system has been refined over the decades as computers became faster and pitch perception models more advanced. The Apple system was still in use in the early 1990s when Suvarnalata Rao, the other author of this website, generated graphs for her PhD work on intonation and cognition of rasa (1993). In the 1990s Wim van der Meer ported the whole implementation to the original Macintosh, which had a built-in AD converter and enough processing power to use a pitch perception model developed at the University of Leiden and implemented in their LVS software that was running on microVax computers.