Factors affecting music retrieval in query-by-melody

Tom De Mulder*, Jean-Pierre Martens, Steffen Pauws, Fabio Vignoli, Micheline Lesaffre, Marc Leman, Bernard De Baets, Hans De Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper assesses the impact of three factors on the music retrieval accuracy of a query-by-melody (QBM) system. The investigated factors are the accuracy of the query provider (the singer), the query transcription accuracy of the acoustic front-end and the length of the query. The music retrieval accuracy is described in terms of a new concept, called the remaining information fraction (RIF). With this new concept it is possible to get more insight in the way the individual factors affect the music retrieval accuracy. The experimental results reported in this paper support the following conclusions: i) the music retrieval accuracy of a QBM system, as assessed on a large set of queries, is strongly correlated with the query transcription accuracy of its front-end, as assessed on a small set of manually transcribed queries, ii) there is still a significant gap between the accuracies obtained with manual and automatically generated query transcriptions, and iii) the music retrieval accuracy starts to drop quickly as soon as the query consists of less than 20 notes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-739
Number of pages12
JournalIeee transactions on multimedia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • error analysis
  • man-machine systems
  • multimedia systems
  • music


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