Human-based percussion and self-similarity detection in electroacoustic music



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Electroacoustic music is music that uses electronic technology for the compositional manipulation of sound, and is a unique genre of music for many reasons. Analyzing electroacoustic music requires special measures, some of which are integrated into the design of a preliminary percussion analysis tool set for electroacoustic music. This tool set is designed to incorporate the human processing of music and sound. Models of the human auditory periphery are used as a front end to the analysis algorithms. The audio properties of percussivity and self-similarity are chosen as the focus because these properties are computable and informative. A collection of human judgments about percussion was undertaken to acquire clearly specified, sound-event dimensions that humans use as a percussive cue. A total of 29 participants was asked to make judgments about the percussivity of 360 pairs of synthesized snare-drum sounds. The grouped results indicate that of the dimensions tested rise time is the strongest cue for percussivity. String resonance also has a strong effect, but because of the complex nature of string resonance, it is not a fundamental dimension of a sound event. Gross spectral filtering also has an effect on the judgment of percussivity but the effect is weaker than for rise time and string resonance. Gross spectral filtering also has less effect when the stronger cue of rise time is modified simultaneously. A percussivity-profile algorithm (PPA) is designed to identify those instants in pieces of music that humans also would identify as percussive. The PPA is implemented using a time-domain, channel-based approach and psychoacoustic models. The input parameters are tuned to maximize performance at matching participants’ choices in the percussion-judgment collection. After the PPA is tuned, the PPA then is used to analyze pieces of electroacoustic music. Real electroacoustic music introduces new challenges for the PPA, though those same challenges might affect human judgment as well. A similarity matrix is combined with the PPA in order to find self-similarity in the percussive sounds of electroacoustic music. This percussive similarity matrix is then used to identify structural characteristics in two pieces of electroacoustic music.