Content Based Retrieval and Navigation of Music Using Melodic Pitch Contours

Steven G. Blackburn
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK (September, 2000)


The support for audio in existing hypermedia systems is generally not as comprehensive as for text and images, considering audio to be an endpoint medium. Temporal linking has been considered in the Soundviewer for Microcosm. This linking model is beginning to become more mainstream through the development of standards associated with the World Wide Web, such as SMIL.

This thesis investigates the application of content based navigation to music. It considers the viability of using melodic pitch contours as the content representation for retrieval and navigation. It observes the similarity between content based retrieval and navigation and focuses on the fast retrieval of music. The technique of using n-grams for efficient and accurate content based retrieval is explored. The classification of MIDI tracks into musical roles is used to reduce the amount of data that must be indexed, and so increase speed and accuracy. The impact of classification is evaluated against a melodic retrieval engine.

Finally, the system built for retrieval is modified for navigation. A set of tools which support both temporal and content based navigation is built to provide proof of concept.

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