View the PDF document Towards the digital music library: tune retrieval from acoustic input

McNab, R. J., Smith, L. A., Witten, I. H., Henderson, C. L., Cunningham, S. J. (1996) Proc Digital Libraries ’96,pp 11-18.

Music is traditionally retrieved by title, composer or subject classification. It is possible, with current technology, to retrieve music from a database on the basis of a few notes sung or hummed into a microphone. This paper describes the implementation of such a system, and discusses several issues pertaining to music retrieval. We first describe an interface that transcribes acoustic input into standard music notation. We then analyze string matching requirements for ranked retrieval of music and present the results of an experiment which tests how accurately people sing well known melodies. The performance of several string matching criteria are analyzed using two folk song databases. Finally, we describe a prototype system which has been developed for retrieval of tunes from acoustic input.