Tag Archives: music information retrieval

FAST project: Acoustic and semantic technologies for intelligent music production and consumption

Yesterday I arrived from Paris, where I attended, as Advisory Board member, a meeting of the FAST Project (www.semanticaudio.ac.uk).

FAST-IMPACT stands for “Fusing Acoustic and Semantic Technologies for Intelligent Music Production and Consumption” and it is funded by EPRSC, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Countil, UK with 5,199,944 £ (side note: OMG this is real funding, they should know at the new Spanish Agencia Estatal para la Investigación)

According to their web site, This five-year EPSRC project brings the very latest technologies to bear on the entire recorded music industry, end-to-end, producer to consumer, making the production process more fruitful, the consumption process more engaging, and the delivery and intermediation more automated and robust. It addresses three main premises:

(i) that Semantic Web technologies should be deployed throughout the content value chain from producer to consumer;

(ii) that advanced signal processing should be employed in the content production phases to extract “pure” features of perceptual significance and represent these in standard vocabularies;

(iii) that this combination of semantic technologies and content-derived metadata leads to advantages (and new products and services) at many points in the value chain, from recording studio to end-user (listener) devices and applications.

The project is leaded by Dr Mark Sandler, Queen Mary University of London, and include as project participants University of Nottingham (leaded by Dr. Steve Benford), University of Oxford (leaded by Dr. David Deroure), Abbey Road Studios, BBC R&D, The Internet Archives, Microsoft Research and Audiolaboratories Eerlangen.

The results for this first year are amazing, as it can bee seen on the web, in terms of publication, scientific and technological outcomes but more important, great and inspiring ideas!

I am honoured to be part of the advisory board with such excellent researchers and contribute to the Project as much as I can. Some photos of the meeting:

 

 

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President-elect of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR)

ismir_04barstaff

Since January 1st I became the president-elect of the ISMIR. That means that I will be assisting the current president and I will become ISMIR president in two years.

I am very honoured to serve the community but it is a big responsibility! The current board was elected at last ISMIR (business meeting) and it includes colleagues around the world Fabien Gouyon as the current president, Eric J. Humphrey as secretary, Xiao Hu as treasurer, and Amélie AngladeMeinard Müller and Geoffroy Peeters and as board members.

For those who do not know, the International Society for Music Information Retrieval , as it appears on its website, is a non-profit organization seeking to advance the access, organization, and understanding of music information. As a field, music information retrieval (MIR) focuses on the research and development of computational systems to help humans better make sense of this data, drawing from a diverse set of disciplines, including, but my no means limited to, music theory, computer science, psychology, neuroscience, library science, electrical engineering, and machine learning. More formally, the goals of  ISMIR are:

  1. to foster the exchange of ideas between and among members whose activities, though diverse, stem from a common interest in music information retrieval,
  2. to stimulate research, development, and improvement in teaching in all branches of music information retrieval,
  3. to encourage publication and distribution of theoretical, empirical, and applied studies,
  4. to cooperate with representatives of other organizations and disciplines toward the furtherance of music information retrieval, and
  5. to support and encourage diversity in membership and the disciplines involved as a fundamental aspect of the society.

ISMIR was incorporated in Canada on July 4, 2008. It was previously run by a Steering Committee, and you can become a member by applying here.

The main activity of ISMIR is happening at the annual ISMIR conference, taking place in different countries worldwide (ISMIR 2015 was in Málaga and ISMIR 2016 will be in New York). In this graph published by ISMIR 2015 organizers, it can be noted that ISMIR is a well established conference with an attendance of 200 to 300 people and around 100 papers published in each edition.

estadisticas

Those papers have a great impact:  ISMIR is currently the 5th ranked publication in the “Multimedia” subcategory of “Engineering and Computer Science” and the 1st ranked in the “Music&Musicology” subcategory of “Humanities, Literature, and Arts“. 

If you cannot make it, you can Join the ISMIR Community group. Since its inception in 2000, the ISMIR community mailing list has grown into a forum of over 1,800 members from across the world, and routinely receives announcements about conferences, career opportunities, concerts, and wide variety of other issues relevant to music information retrieval.

My mains goals are to make ISMIR more accessible and interdisciplinary. I am also involved in the definition of an open access journal and I am particularly involved in WiMIR (I am in fact the first female president as far as I know). WiMIR is a group of people dedicated to promoting the role of, and increasing opportunities for, women in the MIR field. We meet to socialize, share information, and discuss in an informal setting, with the goal of building a community around women in our field. A photo of ismir 2014 meeting:

IMG_2984

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Music Information Retrieval & Flamenco: Experiment on note segmentation

Current experiment (updated October 2015)

We are running an experiment on note segmentation in flamenco, in order to understand the mechanisms behind manual transcriptions and improve our automatic transcription methods.

You can help by doing this exercise where you will have to segment 10 short flamenco excerpts into notes (it requires less than 1 hour of your time), and you will have the chance to listen in detail to some flamenco singing.

About

My current research in music information retrieval also addresses flamenco music, specially flamenco singing. I am interested to understand and model with computing tools the way humans transcribe flamenco music in order to generate automatic transcriptions of flamenco performances. Transcriptions are useful for musical analysis in terms of scale, patterns and style. More info on the context of my research can be found at the COFLA web site.

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Correlation between musical descriptors and emotions recognized in Beethoven’s Eroica

Last Wednesday I presented a poster at the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM 2015), that took place at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, UK. It was a very interesting conference, including a very nice symposium in understanding musical audiences and inspiring talks on music education, psychology and wellbeing. Really impressed by how music have influence to improve quality of live from early years to the end of our lives.

The work I presented was leaded by Erika Trent, a student from the MIT that spent last summer at my lab thanks to the MIT Spain program. It was a very productive stay!

In this study we analysed the emotions that listener perceive when listening to Beethoven Symphony No. 3, Eroica, PHENICX target piece, played by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. We then quantify the correlation between listeners’ perceived emotions from music and 1) musical descriptors, and 2) listeners’ backgrounds (country of origin, musical knowledge, exposure to classical music and knowledge of Eroica).

One conclusion of this study is that tonal strength (i.e. key clarity) correlates significantly with listener ratings of peacefulness, joyful activation, tension and sadness. Other significant correlations between emotion ratings and musical descriptors agree with the literature. This agreed with our hypothesis, being different parts on the same musical piece.

But there are two other unexpected and interesting findings that we might need to continue researching on.

First, we found out that listeners of varying backgrounds agree most on their ratings of sadness, compared to other emotions. Would that be similar for other musical pieces?

Second, listeners of similarly unmusical backgrounds, and listeners of young ages, recognise similar emotions to same music. On the contrary, listeners with more musical experience recognise different emotions to the same music. Caused by personal biases?

Interesting results that might corroborate the need for personalisation in music recommendation engines!

You can read the whole paper and access the poster here. 

0168TrentGomezPoster

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PhD fellowship on Audio-Visual Approaches for Music Information Retrieval at UPF

Last year I started to collaborate with my colleague Gloria Haro, from UPF, working on image processing, trying to incorporate audio and image descriptors for music analysis. We had a student who worked for several months on this and we are now opening a PhD position to further advance in the topic.

Anyone interested please apply! This is the official call:

——

The Music Technology Group (MTG) and the Image Processing Group (GPI) of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona are  opening a joint PhD fellowship in the topic of “Audio-Visual Approaches for Music Content Description”  to start in the Fall of 2015.

Motivation:

Music is a highly multimodal concept, where various types of heterogeneous information are associated to a music piece (audio, musician’s gestures and facial expression, lyrics, etc.). This has recently led researchers to apprehend music through its various facets, giving rise to multimodal music analysis studies (Essid and Richard, 2012).

Goal:

Research on the complementarity of audio and image description technologies to improve the accuracy and meaningfulness of state of the art music description methods. These methods are the core of content-based music information retrieval tasks.

Several standard tasks could benefit from it:

  • Synchronization of audio / video streams
  • Audio-visual quality assessment
  • Structural analysis and segmentation
  • Discovery of repeated themes & sections
  • Automatic video mashup generation
  • Music similarity computation
  • Genre / style classification
  • Artist identification
  • Emotion (mood) characterization
  • Optical music recognition (OMR)

Supervisors: Emilia Gómez (MTG) / Gloria Haro (GPI)

Requirements:

Applicants should have experience in audio and image signal processing, and hold a MSc in a related field (e.g. telecommunications, electrical engineering, mathematics, physics or computer science). Experience in scientific programming (Matlab/Python/C++) and excellent English are essential. Musical background and expertise on multimedia information retrieval are also valuable.

The grant involves teaching assistance (up to 60 h a year), so interest for teaching is also valued.

More information on grant details:

http://www.upf.edu/dtic_doctorate/

http://www.upf.edu/dtic_doctorate/phd_fellowships.html

Provisional starting date: November 2015

Application:

Interested candidates should send a motivation letter, a CV (preferably with references), and academic transcripts to Prof. Emilia Gómez (emilia.gomez@upf.edu) and Prof. Gloria Haro (gloria.haro@upf.edu) before September 10th. Please include in the subject [PhD Audio-Visual].

They will also have to apply to the PhD program of the DTIC of the UPF.

References

  • S. Essid and G. Richard, “Fusion of Multimodal Information in Music Content Analysis”. in Meinard Müller, Masataka Goto and Markus Schedl (Eds) “Multimodal Music Processing”, Dagstuhl Follow-ups, volume 3, pp. 37-53, ISBN 978-3-939897-37-8, 2012.
  • M. Müller, M. Goto and M. Schedl (Eds) “Multimodal Music Processing”, Dagstuhl Follow-ups, volume 3, ISBN 978-3-939897-37-8, 2012.
  • A. Schindel & A. Rauber. A (2013). Music Video Information Retrieval Approach to Artist Identification, CMMR.
  • Y.W. Wang, Z. L.Z. Liu, & J.C. Huang. (2000). Multimedia content analysis-using both audio and visual clues. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, 17(November). doi:10.1109/79.888862
  • Yue Wu, Tao Mei, Ying-Qing Xu, Nenghai Yu, Shipeng Li, “MoVieUp: Automatic Mobile Video Mashup”, IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, 2015.

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Computational models of symphonic music: challenges and opportunities

mcm2015-poster

This is the title of my keynote speech yesterday at the Mathematics and Computation in Music Conference that is taking place in London this week. I presented our work in the PHENICX project I am coordinating to apply MIR technologies to symphonic repertoire. This is the abstract:

An orchestral classical concert embraces a wealth of musical information, which may not be easily perceived or understood for general audiences. Current machine listening and visualization technologies can facilitate the appreciation of distinct musical facets, contributing to innovative and more enjoyable concert experiences. This presentation provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities that symphonic music poses for these technologies. We will summarize our current efforts in the improving of state-of-the-art methods for melody extraction, structural analysis, source separation when applied to this particular repertoire. Special emphasis will be given to the combination of symbolic, audio and gestural music descriptors, and to the development of meaningful visualizations designed to be exploited in off-line and live concert situations.

Among other things, I presented the work we carried out in Seville for the Exponential Prometheus opening concert of the Singularity Summit Spain, Seville, March 12th 2015.

This is a video of the event which illustrates our work in the phenicx project.

It was featured in the DIGITAL AGENDA FOR EUROPE.

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Music Similarity: Concepts, Cognition and Computation

Last week I attended a workshop on Music Similarity (Concepts, cognition and computation) held at the Lorentz Center (International Center for Workshops in the Sciences) in Leiden, Netherlands. The Lorentz Center is an international center that coordinates and hosts workshops in the sciences, based on the philosophy that science thrives on interaction between creative researchers. Lorentz Center workshops focus on new collaborations and interactions between scientists from different countries and fields, and with varying seniority.

As a contrast from the photo showed on their web, only female researchers working in music from different perspectives organized this workshop, which is already noticeable in our field:

They represent the different disciplines covered in the workshop:

  • Conceptual and computational aspects in music similarity
  • Music similarity and cognition
  • Music similarity in practice

The program was a combination of plenary presentation of different topics, discussion sessions in small groups and large groups, long breaks for lunch, coffee combined with interaction among participants, and nice social activities.

I enjoyed a lot this event, as it was a nice mixture of colleagues I already knew, researchers I had read their work but not met personally and new students with fresh ideas.

I focused my presentation on the applications of music similarity measures in Music Information Retrieval and the challenges of “building real applications for real people”. You can find my slides here:

And some photos here:

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Un mes irrepetible / A unique month

Yes, last month has been so unique for me that I wanted to share it with a post.

ISMIR 2014

ismir

From October 27th to November 1st, I attended the 15h International Conference of Music Information Retrieval in Taipei, Taiwan. ISMIR is by far my favorite conference, where I meet most of my colleagues, get to know the advancements in the field, and get fresh ideas for my research. This year, it was a busy edition for me. We presented some work related to the PHENICX project, where we try to apply MIR techniques for classical music, in particular for symphonic repertoire and within the context of a concert, so including real-time description. In addition, we had several meetings of the society board, where I take part as a member. Finally, I was co-authoring a poster on the robustness of low-level features, another one on melodic similarity of flamenco music, in the scope of our COFLA project, and presenting a demo of our MIR.EDU library for music education! A lot for a single week!

proxy  It was a great conference: amazing city and landscape, very good organization, nice presentations and research outcomes, and good perspectives for next year in Málaga, Spain.

After coming back from ISMIR, I had my tenured defense on November 5th. After some years working at UPF and a long waiting period due to economic restrictions, I got tenured assistant professor thanks to the Serra Hunter program of the Catalan government. I am really happy for that!

One week later, this Wednesday, I attended a workshop in Madrid that the Spanish Association of Symphonic Orchestras (AEOS) and BBVA foundation devoted, in its first day, to the new challenges and opportunities that technology offers for orchestras. I presented the PHENICX project, including use cases and the technologies that the different partners are researching and developping, integrated in our prototype. You can find here my slides and complementary material. It has already appeared in press.

Although we are not far from summer, I now feel I need some rest!

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Music Information Retrieval: Recent Developments and Applications (152 pages, 311 references, amazing reviewers!)

After one year of hard work we finished our paper (152 pages, 311 references!) on Music Information Retrieval: Recent Developments and Applications. I collaborated with Markus Schedl and Julián Urbano in this amazing project at Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval (h-index=15, Q1 Computer Science). We tried to cover all existing techniques, approaches and key references in MIR, and to reflect the interest of our community on combining audio description, context mining, user modelling and proper evaluation methodologies.

We hope it will be an interesting reference for our community, and we also hope this paper can serve to motivate and introduce people outside or our field.

I would really like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor, Mark Sanderson. I don’t know who the reviewers are but I think they deserve being in the author list!  Great suggestions, discussions, restructuring, editions for a great outcome.

Enjoy!

Abstract

Music Information Retrieval: Recent Developments and Applications surveys the young but established field of research that is Music Information Retrieval (MIR). In doing so, it pays particular attention to the latest developments in MIR, such as semantic auto-tagging and user-centric retrieval and recommendation approaches.

Music Information Retrieval: Recent Developments and Applications starts by reviewing the well-established and proven methods for feature extraction and music indexing, from both the audio signal and contextual data sources about music items, such as web pages or collaborative tags. These in turn enable a wide variety of music retrieval tasks, such as semantic music search or music identification (“query by example”). Subsequently, it elaborates on the current work on user analysis and modeling in the context of music recommendation and retrieval, addressing the recent trend towards user-centric and adaptive approaches and systems. A discussion follows about the important aspect of how various MIR approaches to different problems are evaluated and compared. It concludes with a discussion about the major open challenges facing MIR.

Music Information Retrieval: Recent Developments and Applications is an invaluable reference for researchers, students or practitioners working on, or with an interest in MIR.

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Forum on transcription in the journal “Twentieth-Century Music”

I contributed by means of an enriching interview to the “Forum on Transcription”, authored by Jason Stanyek (University of Oxford) in the journal Twentieth-Century MusicAs stated on the web site, this journal disseminates research on all aspects of music in the long twentieth century to a broad readership. Emphasis is placed upon the presentation of the full spectrum of scholarly insight, with the goal of fostering exchange and debate between disciplinary fields.

I share an interesting conversation about transcription with Parag Chordia. In this conversation with Jason we discussed about the challenges and potential of audio analysis tools for computer-assisted transcription and description of music recordings. I gave some examples on my work on the transcription of flamenco singing that is being carried out within the COFLA project. 

You can find the results of the forum and the rest of a very impressive special issue on transcription on the web.

 

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