Doctoral dissertationPublic defense

On Friday 23 February 2024 Bas will defend his PhD dissertation Measuring musics: Notes on modes, motifs, and melodies at the University of Amsterdam. The defense is open for the public, and will be followed by a reception.

The cover visualizes which basic rhythmic motifs can be found in a recording of Malian jembe drumming, in a so-called rhythm triangle (see page 81)

Measuring musics

In the same way linguists have compared languages to work out how they are related, what properties are common, and which are rare, musicologists have compared musical traditions: musics. But to do so, you somehow need to measure the properties of interest — or at least that idea motivates most of this dissertation. It consists of studies that develop ways to measure properties of several musical traditions, but in a computational fashion: it discusses, amongst others, modes in plainchant, inventories of rhythmic and melodic motifs, and shapes of melodies.

Curious? Have a look at the dissertation (PDF, 27MB).


The ceremony will take place in the Aula of the University of Amsterdam (Oude Lutherse Kerk, Singel 411, Amsterdam) and is open for public. You can also follow the ceremony remotely via this live stream.

Friday, 23 February 2024
10.55 Livestream starts
11.00 Introductory layman’s talk (‘lekenpraatje’)
11.15 Start of the defense
12.00 Hora est. Committe retreats for deliberation
12.15 Committee returns…
12.30 Reception
13.30 End of the reception


If you have practical questions about the ceremony or the drinks, please direct them to the paranymphs, Marie Beth van Egmond and Thomas Batelaan-Bruggeman, via