Melody Detection in Polyphonic Musical Signals: Exploiting Perceptual Rules, Note Salience and Melodic Smoothness



Research on melody extraction from polyphonic audio is a subject of increasing
interest. In fact, it has a wide range of applications, for example in Music
Information Retrieval (MIR) - namely regarding query-by-humming in audio
databases, i.e., searching musical databases through hummed queries -, automatic
melody transcription, performance and expressiveness analysis, extraction of
melodic descriptors for music content metadata, plagiarism detection, to name but a
few. This is all the more relevant nowadays, as digital music archives are
continuously expanding. The present state of affairs places new challenges to music
librarians and service providers, regarding the organization of large-scale music
databases and the development of meaningful ways of interaction and retrieval.
In this article, we tackle the problem of melody detection in polyphonic audio,
following a multi-stage approach, inspired on principles from perceptual theory and
musical practice. Our system comprises three main modules: pitch detection,
determination of musical notes (with precise temporal boundaries, pitches and
intensity levels) and identification of melodic notes. The main contribution of this
article is in the last module, where a number of rule-based systems are proposed
with the objective of extracting the notes that convey the main melodic line among
the whole set of detected notes. The system performs satisfactorily in a small
database collected by us and in the database created for the ISMIR'2004 melody
extraction contest. However, the performance of the algorithm decreased in
the MIREX'2005 database.




Music Information Retrieval


Computer Music Journal, Vol. 30, #4, na, December 2006

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