View the PDF document Tune retrieval in the multimedia library

McNab, R. J., Smith, L. A., Witten, I. H., Henderson, C. L. (2000) Multimedia-Tools and Applications 10,113-132. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Musical scores are traditionally retrieved by title, composer or subject classification. Just as multimedia computer systems increase the range of opportunities available for presenting musical information, so they also offer new ways of posing musically-oriented queries. This paper shows how scores can be retrieved from a database on the basis of a few notes sung or hummed into a microphone. The design of such a facility raises several interesting 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 and evaluation its performance.