Research papers and code for "Gerhard Widmer":
Common temporal models for automatic chord recognition model chord changes on a frame-wise basis. Due to this fact, they are unable to capture musical knowledge about chord progressions. In this paper, we propose a temporal model that enables explicit modelling of chord changes and durations. We then apply N-gram models and a neural-network-based acoustic model within this framework, and evaluate the effect of model overconfidence. Our results show that model overconfidence plays only a minor role (but target smoothing still improves the acoustic model), and that stronger chord language models do improve recognition results, however their effects are small compared to other domains.

* First published in the Proceedings of the 26th European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO-2018) in 2018, published by EURASIP
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We propose modifications to the model structure and training procedure to a recently introduced Convolutional Neural Network for musical key classification. These modifications enable the network to learn a genre-independent model that performs better than models trained for specific music styles, which has not been the case in existing work. We analyse this generalisation capability on three datasets comprising distinct genres. We then evaluate the model on a number of unseen data sets, and show its superior performance compared to the state of the art. Finally, we investigate the model's performance on short excerpts of audio. From these experiments, we conclude that models need to consider the harmonic coherence of the whole piece when classifying the local key of short segments of audio.

* Published at the 19th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference
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Chord recognition systems typically comprise an acoustic model that predicts chords for each audio frame, and a temporal model that casts these predictions into labelled chord segments. However, temporal models have been shown to only smooth predictions, without being able to incorporate musical information about chord progressions. Recent research discovered that it might be the low hierarchical level such models have been applied to (directly on audio frames) which prevents learning musical relationships, even for expressive models such as recurrent neural networks (RNNs). However, if applied on the level of chord sequences, RNNs indeed can become powerful chord predictors. In this paper, we disentangle temporal models into a harmonic language model---to be applied on chord sequences---and a chord duration model that connects the chord-level predictions of the language model to the frame-level predictions of the acoustic model. In our experiments, we explore the impact of each model on the chord recognition score, and show that using harmonic language and duration models improves the results.

* Published at 19th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference
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Rethinking how to model polyphonic transcription formally, we frame it as a reinforcement learning task. Such a task formulation encompasses the notion of a musical agent and an environment containing an instrument as well as the sound source to be transcribed. Within this conceptual framework, the transcription process can be described as the agent interacting with the instrument in the environment, and obtaining reward by playing along with what it hears. Choosing from a discrete set of actions - the notes to play on its instrument - the amount of reward the agent experiences depends on which notes it plays and when. This process resembles how a human musician might approach the task of transcription, and the satisfaction she achieves by closely mimicking the sound source to transcribe on her instrument. Following a discussion of the theoretical framework and the benefits of modelling the problem in this way, we focus our attention on several practical considerations and address the difficulties in training an agent to acceptable performance on a set of tasks with increasing difficulty. We demonstrate promising results in partially constrained environments.

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We measure the effect of small amounts of systematic and random label noise caused by slightly misaligned ground truth labels in a fine grained audio signal labeling task. The task we choose to demonstrate these effects on is also known as framewise polyphonic transcription or note quantized multi-f0 estimation, and transforms a monaural audio signal into a sequence of note indicator labels. It will be shown that even slight misalignments have clearly apparent effects, demonstrating a great sensitivity of convolutional neural networks to label noise. The implications are clear: when using convolutional neural networks for fine grained audio signal labeling tasks, great care has to be taken to ensure that the annotations have precise timing, and are free from systematic or random error as much as possible - even small misalignments will have a noticeable impact.

* accepted at ICASSP 2018
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We present an end-to-end system for musical key estimation, based on a convolutional neural network. The proposed system not only out-performs existing key estimation methods proposed in the academic literature; it is also capable of learning a unified model for diverse musical genres that performs comparably to existing systems specialised for specific genres. Our experiments confirm that different genres do differ in their interpretation of tonality, and thus a system tuned e.g. for pop music performs subpar on pieces of electronic music. They also reveal that such cross-genre setups evoke specific types of error (predicting the relative or parallel minor). However, using the data-driven approach proposed in this paper, we can train models that deal with multiple musical styles adequately, and without major losses in accuracy.

* First published in the Proceedings of the 25th European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO-2017) in 2017, published by EURASIP
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Chord recognition systems use temporal models to post-process frame-wise chord preditions from acoustic models. Traditionally, first-order models such as Hidden Markov Models were used for this task, with recent works suggesting to apply Recurrent Neural Networks instead. Due to their ability to learn longer-term dependencies, these models are supposed to learn and to apply musical knowledge, instead of just smoothing the output of the acoustic model. In this paper, we argue that learning complex temporal models at the level of audio frames is futile on principle, and that non-Markovian models do not perform better than their first-order counterparts. We support our argument through three experiments on the McGill Billboard dataset. The first two show 1) that when learning complex temporal models at the frame level, improvements in chord sequence modelling are marginal; and 2) that these improvements do not translate when applied within a full chord recognition system. The third, still rather preliminary experiment gives first indications that the use of complex sequential models for chord prediction at higher temporal levels might be more promising.

* Published at AES Conference on Semantic Audio 2017
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Chord recognition systems depend on robust feature extraction pipelines. While these pipelines are traditionally hand-crafted, recent advances in end-to-end machine learning have begun to inspire researchers to explore data-driven methods for such tasks. In this paper, we present a chord recognition system that uses a fully convolutional deep auditory model for feature extraction. The extracted features are processed by a Conditional Random Field that decodes the final chord sequence. Both processing stages are trained automatically and do not require expert knowledge for optimising parameters. We show that the learned auditory system extracts musically interpretable features, and that the proposed chord recognition system achieves results on par or better than state-of-the-art algorithms.

* In Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE 26th International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP), Vietro sul Mare, Italy
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We explore frame-level audio feature learning for chord recognition using artificial neural networks. We present the argument that chroma vectors potentially hold enough information to model harmonic content of audio for chord recognition, but that standard chroma extractors compute too noisy features. This leads us to propose a learned chroma feature extractor based on artificial neural networks. It is trained to compute chroma features that encode harmonic information important for chord recognition, while being robust to irrelevant interferences. We achieve this by feeding the network an audio spectrum with context instead of a single frame as input. This way, the network can learn to selectively compensate noise and resolve harmonic ambiguities. We compare the resulting features to hand-crafted ones by using a simple linear frame-wise classifier for chord recognition on various data sets. The results show that the learned feature extractor produces superior chroma vectors for chord recognition.

* In Proceedings of the 17th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR), New York, USA, 2016
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We introduce the Probabilistic Generative Adversarial Network (PGAN), a new GAN variant based on a new kind of objective function. The central idea is to integrate a probabilistic model (a Gaussian Mixture Model, in our case) into the GAN framework which supports a new kind of loss function (based on likelihood rather than classification loss), and at the same time gives a meaningful measure of the quality of the outputs generated by the network. Experiments with MNIST show that the model learns to generate realistic images, and at the same time computes likelihoods that are correlated with the quality of the generated images. We show that PGAN is better able to cope with instability problems that are usually observed in the GAN training procedure. We investigate this from three aspects: the probability landscape of the discriminator, gradients of the generator, and the perfect discriminator problem.

* Submitted to NIPS 2017
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We present a simple method for assessing the quality of generated images in Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). The method can be applied in any kind of GAN without interfering with the learning procedure or affecting the learning objective. The central idea is to define a likelihood function that correlates with the quality of the generated images. In particular, we derive a Gaussian likelihood function from the distribution of the embeddings (hidden activations) of the real images in the discriminator, and based on this, define two simple measures of how likely it is that the embeddings of generated images are from the distribution of the embeddings of the real images. This yields a simple measure of fitness for generated images, for all varieties of GANs. Empirical results on CIFAR-10 demonstrate a strong correlation between the proposed measures and the perceived quality of the generated images.

* ICML 2017 Workshop on Implicit Models
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Current ML models for music emotion recognition, while generally working quite well, do not give meaningful or intuitive explanations for their predictions. In this work, we propose a 2-step procedure to arrive at spectrogram-level explanations that connect certain aspects of the audio to interpretable mid-level perceptual features, and these to the actual emotion prediction. That makes it possible to focus on specific musical reasons for a prediction (in terms of perceptual features), and to trace these back to patterns in the audio that can be interpreted visually and acoustically.

* ML4MD Workshop of the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning
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Automatic drum transcription, a subtask of the more general automatic music transcription, deals with extracting drum instrument note onsets from an audio source. Recently, progress in transcription performance has been made using non-negative matrix factorization as well as deep learning methods. However, these works primarily focus on transcribing three drum instruments only: snare drum, bass drum, and hi-hat. Yet, for many applications, the ability to transcribe more drum instruments which make up standard drum kits used in western popular music would be desirable. In this work, convolutional and convolutional recurrent neural networks are trained to transcribe a wider range of drum instruments. First, the shortcomings of publicly available datasets in this context are discussed. To overcome these limitations, a larger synthetic dataset is introduced. Then, methods to train models using the new dataset focusing on generalization to real world data are investigated. Finally, the trained models are evaluated on publicly available datasets and results are discussed. The contributions of this work comprise: (i.) a large-scale synthetic dataset for drum transcription, (ii.) first steps towards an automatic drum transcription system that supports a larger range of instruments by evaluating and discussing training setups and the impact of datasets in this context, and (iii.) a publicly available set of trained models for drum transcription. Additional materials are available at http://ifs.tuwien.ac.at/~vogl/dafx2018

* Published in Proceedings of the 21th International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFx18), 4 - 8 September, 2018, Aveiro, Portugal
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Score following is the process of tracking a musical performance (audio) with respect to a known symbolic representation (a score). We start this paper by formulating score following as a multimodal Markov Decision Process, the mathematical foundation for sequential decision making. Given this formal definition, we address the score following task with state-of-the-art deep reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms such as synchronous advantage actor critic (A2C). In particular, we design multimodal RL agents that simultaneously learn to listen to music, read the scores from images of sheet music, and follow the audio along in the sheet, in an end-to-end fashion. All this behavior is learned entirely from scratch, based on a weak and potentially delayed reward signal that indicates to the agent how close it is to the correct position in the score. Besides discussing the theoretical advantages of this learning paradigm, we show in experiments that it is in fact superior compared to previously proposed methods for score following in raw sheet music images.

* Published in the Proceedings of the 19th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, Paris, France, 2018
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Connectionist sequence models (e.g., RNNs) applied to musical sequences suffer from two known problems: First, they have strictly "absolute pitch perception". Therefore, they fail to generalize over musical concepts which are commonly perceived in terms of relative distances between pitches (e.g., melodies, scale types, modes, cadences, or chord types). Second, they fall short of capturing the concepts of repetition and musical form. In this paper we introduce the recurrent gated autoencoder (RGAE), a recurrent neural network which learns and operates on interval representations of musical sequences. The relative pitch modeling increases generalization and reduces sparsity in the input data. Furthermore, it can learn sequences of copy-and-shift operations (i.e. chromatically transposed copies of musical fragments)---a promising capability for learning musical repetition structure. We show that the RGAE improves the state of the art for general connectionist sequence models in learning to predict monophonic melodies, and that ensembles of relative and absolute music processing models improve the results appreciably. Furthermore, we show that the relative pitch processing of the RGAE naturally facilitates the learning and the generation of sequences of copy-and-shift operations, wherefore the RGAE greatly outperforms a common absolute pitch recurrent neural network on this task.

* Paper accepted at the 19th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2018, Paris, France, September 23-27; 8 pages, 3 figures
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Many music theoretical constructs (such as scale types, modes, cadences, and chord types) are defined in terms of pitch intervals---relative distances between pitches. Therefore, when computer models are employed in music tasks, it can be useful to operate on interval representations rather than on the raw musical surface. Moreover, interval representations are transposition-invariant, valuable for tasks like audio alignment, cover song detection and music structure analysis. We employ a gated autoencoder to learn fixed-length, invertible and transposition-invariant interval representations from polyphonic music in the symbolic domain and in audio. An unsupervised training method is proposed yielding an organization of intervals in the representation space which is musically plausible. Based on the representations, a transposition-invariant self-similarity matrix is constructed and used to determine repeated sections in symbolic music and in audio, yielding competitive results in the MIREX task "Discovery of Repeated Themes and Sections".

* Paper accepted at the 19th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2018, Paris, France, September 23-27; 8 pages, 5 figures
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We introduce a method for imposing higher-level structure on generated, polyphonic music. A Convolutional Restricted Boltzmann Machine (C-RBM) as a generative model is combined with gradient descent constraint optimisation to provide further control over the generation process. Among other things, this allows for the use of a "template" piece, from which some structural properties can be extracted, and transferred as constraints to the newly generated material. The sampling process is guided with Simulated Annealing to avoid local optima, and to find solutions that both satisfy the constraints, and are relatively stable with respect to the C-RBM. Results show that with this approach it is possible to control the higher-level self-similarity structure, the meter, and the tonal properties of the resulting musical piece, while preserving its local musical coherence.

* Journal of Creative Music Systems, Volume 2, Issue 1, March 2018
* 31 pages, 11 figures
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Music is usually highly structured and it is still an open question how to design models which can successfully learn to recognize and represent musical structure. A fundamental problem is that structurally related patterns can have very distinct appearances, because the structural relationships are often based on transformations of musical material, like chromatic or diatonic transposition, inversion, retrograde, or rhythm change. In this preliminary work, we study the potential of two unsupervised learning techniques - Restricted Boltzmann Machines (RBMs) and Gated Autoencoders (GAEs) - to capture pre-defined transformations from constructed data pairs. We evaluate the models by using the learned representations as inputs in a discriminative task where for a given type of transformation (e.g. diatonic transposition), the specific relation between two musical patterns must be recognized (e.g. an upward transposition of diatonic steps). Furthermore, we measure the reconstruction error of models when reconstructing musical transformed patterns. Lastly, we test the models in an analogy-making task. We find that it is difficult to learn musical transformations with the RBM and that the GAE is much more adequate for this task, since it is able to learn representations of specific transformations that are largely content-invariant. We believe these results show that models such as GAEs may provide the basis for more encompassing music analysis systems, by endowing them with a better understanding of the structures underlying music.

* In Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity (CSMC 2017)
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This paper demonstrates the feasibility of learning to retrieve short snippets of sheet music (images) when given a short query excerpt of music (audio) -- and vice versa --, without any symbolic representation of music or scores. This would be highly useful in many content-based musical retrieval scenarios. Our approach is based on Deep Canonical Correlation Analysis (DCCA) and learns correlated latent spaces allowing for cross-modality retrieval in both directions. Initial experiments with relatively simple monophonic music show promising results.

* In NIPS 2016 End-to-end Learning for Speech and Audio Processing Workshop, Barcelona, Spain
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This paper addresses the matching of short music audio snippets to the corresponding pixel location in images of sheet music. A system is presented that simultaneously learns to read notes, listens to music and matches the currently played music to its corresponding notes in the sheet. It consists of an end-to-end multi-modal convolutional neural network that takes as input images of sheet music and spectrograms of the respective audio snippets. It learns to predict, for a given unseen audio snippet (covering approximately one bar of music), the corresponding position in the respective score line. Our results suggest that with the use of (deep) neural networks -- which have proven to be powerful image processing models -- working with sheet music becomes feasible and a promising future research direction.

* Published In Proceedings of the 17th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (2016)
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