The Optical Neume Recognition Project
A tool to investigate early staff-less music notation

Ven Venite et videte locum ubi positus erat dominus alleluia alleluia (cao5352)
St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 390, p. 32 (


PhD student applications sought.

We seek highly motivated PhD candidates with an excellent Undergraduate or MSc degree in Computer Science or related subjects, outstanding programming skills and a strong interest in image analysis, machine learning or pattern recognition.


Document Analysis and Optical Character Recognition technologies are already available in commercial products. However, these technologies are still unable to provide significant assistance in the analysis of the huge collections of handwritten documents that comprise the historical scientific, artistic and cultural record of our civilisation. Progress in historical document analysis will help in developing a deeper understanding of who we are, where we came from and how we arrived here and would be of great value to many researchers across many disciplines.

PhD students will work with a team as part of the Optical Neume Recognition Project. This project is to develop and apply software to analyse the symbols and text found in the earliest Western musical notation (10th century and later). The background and aims of the Optical Neume Recognition Project can be found at:


The topics that the student may choose to specialise in include:

To apply, please send the following information to Alan Sexton (

You are also required to complete the university formalities about applying for a PhD position. This can be done in parallel with sending the materials mentioned above. See for details.

Funding Notes:

At this time we can offer no funding for PhD students. Normal PhD Student fees at the University of Birmingham are currently £3,929 per year for UK/EU students. Fees for students from outside the EU are £13,590 per year.