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Bernard BEL[edit]

Professional activity[edit]

Research enginer in Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

Laboratoire Parole et Langage, UMR 7309 CNRS - Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence (France)

In charge of the development and maintenance of Speech & Language Data Repository (SLDR) and associated with field linguistic projects

Currently retired

Other R&D activities[edit]

  • Founder and Life member, Special Interest Group on Speech Prosody (SProSIG)
  • Bol Processor project:
  • Editor, series on Communication Processes (3 volumes) with J. Brouwer, B. Das, G. Poitevin, V. Parthasarathi:
    • Volume 1 : Media and Mediation. New Delhi: Sage, 2006. ISBN: 978-0761934288
    • Volume 2 : The Social and the Symbolic. New Delhi: Sage, 2007. ISBN: 978-0761934462
    • Volume 3 : Culture, Communication and Confrontation. New Delhi: Sage, 2010. ISBN: 978-8132102274
  • “I tell you woman!” project for the documentation and publication of a large corpus of grindmill songs in Maharashtra

Social activism[edit]

Since 1999, Bernard Bel has been actively involved in supporting action groups working for the improvement of maternity services in France. In 2003 he co-founded Alliance francophone pour l'accouchement respecté (AFAR). In 2008 he was elected to the Governing Body of the CIANE coalition of childbirth societies.

Life story[edit]

Bernard Bel is a computer scientist with background in mechanical engineering and electronics. In 1979 he started collaborating with anthropologists, musicologists and musicians on a scientific study of North Indian melodic and rhythmic systems. His first contribution was a digitally programmable instrument - the Shruti Harmonium - for experiments with microtonal scales. In 1981 he built a very accurate real-time Melodic Movement Analyser (MMA) used for the automatic transcription and analysis of raga music (in collaboration with Jim Arnold, Joep Bor and Wim van der Meer). This activity has been reported in ISTAR Newsletters.

Bel's research work has been mainly focused on innovative music forms - different ways of associating musical experience with information technology - and questioning the usual dichotomy modernity/tradition outside Western cosmopolitan culture.

His interaction with Western and Indian musicians resulted in the development of a computer environment for music composition (Bol Processor BP2) which won the Bourges 1997 international award of computer-aided composition and realization software. The Bol Processor project focused on the development of new syntactic operators suitable for Western contemporary music, shape editors for Carnatic music, and links with other music environments, notably MIDI and (real-time) Csound. Since 2006, development is being carried over in the framework of an open-source project in collaboration with Anthony Kozar (see SourceForge/GitHub project).

In 1986 Bel joined the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Marseille to work on algorithms for automatic rule generation derived from hypotheses on training methods in traditional tabla (in collaboration with Jim Kippen). He studied artificial intelligence under the guidance of Alain Colmerauer (the inventor of PROLOG) and graduated with a PhD in theoretical computer science in 1990.

Between 1994 and 1998, Bel was deputed to Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH, New Delhi) to carry on projects in the field of computational musicology.

During the same period of time, he coordinated CSH's research scheme Culture, Communication and Power and co-edited a three-volume series on Communication Processes with Guy Poitevin and colleagues.

Bel's interest in popular artistic expression led him to undertake an important multimedia documentation project with the Centre for Cooperative Research in Social Sciences (CCRSS, Pune) directed by Guy Poitevin and Hema Rairkar. In this project, musical data is linked with information about performers, locations, social groups. The analysis of this data is based on both musicological and linguistic queries.

From 1998 to 2014 Bernard Bel was appointed with Laboratoire Parole et Langage (UMR 7309, CNRS/Aix-Marseille University, France). He was in charge of the laboratorie's information system and the implementation and curation of the Speech & Language Data Repository, a site dedicated to the long-term preservation and sharing of oral/linguistic resources based on the OAIS model. In 2011 he has been promoted hors-classe (the highest position) by CNRS.

Bernard Bel is now retired and lives in Les Mayons, a village half way between Aix-en-Provence and Nice. His main activities consist in developing Bol Processor BP3, supporting the project “I tell you woman!” for the documentation and publication of a corpus of grindmill songs in Maharashtra, and conducting the documentation and practice of self-healthcare as presented on his blog Le bonheur est possible.


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