Concord University header logo

CU Professor Co-authors and Presents Paper with International Scholars

CONTACT: Anita Moody, Director, Public Relations/Marketing
1-304-384-5288, FAX 384-6017,

CU Professor Co-authors and Presents Paper with International Scholars

Athens, W.Va. – Dr. W.R. Winfrey professor of mathematics at Concord University attended the 15th International Conference on Digital Signal Processing in Cardiff, Wales, U.K., July 1 - 4, 2007. Winfrey presented a paper that he had co-authored with two other mathematicians, Elizabeth O'Sullivan and Colin F.N. Cowan, both of the Sonic Arts Research Centre at the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The paper’s title is "Padé -Fourier Methods for Music Transposition," and its research focuses on improving the quality of recorded music by transposing specific notes (i.e. changing the key). The idea for this paper was birthed out of a conversation between Winfrey and O’Sullivan at another conference on signal processing held last December in England. Winfrey and a Concord student, Russell Stewart, presented a paper on music transposition at this first conference. They researched ways that a computer program might change the key in which a certain song is played. Some technology for electronic musical transposition is available, but Winfrey and Russell were concerned with improving the current state of this technology by making identification of frequencies of the notes more exact.

This is where Liz O’Sullivan’s involvement began. Through a conversation between the Concord professor and the Irish mathematician at the December conference, they found that O’Sullivan had conducted research that Winfrey could use. O’Sullivan’s research included an analysis of room acoustics, in which she used ideas of Henri Padé, a French mathematician who lived in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Padé’s method helped to determine the exact frequency of room harmonics, which determine the actual sound of musical notes played within a room. Winfrey realized that he could use O’Sullivan’s methods to identify exact frequencies of musical notes, which would lead to transposing electronic music of a better quality.

After collaborating even more, the two decided to join with another mathematician, C.F.N. Cowan, and combine their two research projects. The end project was a presentation on methods for music transposition for the July Signal Processing Conference in Wales.

Winfrey said he was pleased with the result of the research. "The exciting aspect of this research is that it brings together methods and ideas of two essentially unrelated areas to produce a novel solution to a difficult problem," he said.

Winfrey can be contacted via e-mail,


Corrie McKee a senior majoring in English and journalism wrote this news release. Her hometown is Nitro.