The Humdrum Toolkit: Software for Music Research


Welcome to the homepage for Humdrum resources for computational music analysis. Here you will find instructions on downloading, installing, and using the Humdrum Toolkit as well as other resoures.

We’ve split the site into the Humdrum User Guide (Huron, 1995), an explanation of Craig Sapp’s Humdrum Extras, and a Humdrum Cookbook. While the original Humdrum website content is transferred to this one, you can view the original HTML documentation here.

What is Humdrum?

David Huron created Humdrum in the 1980s, and it has been used steadily for decades. Humdrum is a set of command-line tools that facilitates musical analysis, as well as a generalized syntax for representing sequential streams of data. Because it’s a set of command-line tools, it’s program-language agnostic. Many have employed Humdrum tools in larger scripts that use PERL, Ruby, Python, Bash, LISP, and C++.


The Humdrum Extras Guide surveys complimentary tools to the Humdrum Toolkit. Detailed “man” pages for the Humdrum Extras programs can be found at

The Humdrum Cookbook is a scrapbook of tips for using Humdrum Tools and working with data in the Humdrum syntax.

The Humdrum Reference Manual contains chapters each specific to a single tool (“man pages” in unix terminology).

Data Representations is a description of pre-defined exclusive interpretation data types, as well as other conventions such as barlines which can be used in multiple data representations.