Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Active listening gives meaning to digital music

22.11.2005


Imagine a home hi-fi system where music was automatically categorised according to preferences, where you could read the lyrics as you listen, summon up a favourite tune by humming it, and play along with your favourites. It may sound farfetched, but all these functions and more have already been achieved.



The SemanticHIFI project, coordinated by the Paris-based music technology institute, Ircam, is unique. It represents a quantum leap in home music technology, in which access to musical content, and the ability to manipulate it, have hardly advanced since the days of the gramophone.

“Essentially, we are adding descriptions to musical content,” explains Ircam’s Hugues Vinet, the project coordinator. “This allows for more interaction with music, so users can do more than just passively listen. Actually, it’s about making our sophisticated software tools for professional musicians available to a broader public.”


These tools enable a wide variety of functions. Some address ways to browse the large number of recordings that now inhabit the average hard disk. “Browsing techniques for digital music were very basic,” explains Vinet. “You could only search ‘editorial’ information, such as titles. But SemanticHIFI will allow people to label and browse their own collections according to actual musical content, categorised as they see fit. “It’s not our object to define genres, but to let people define their own,” explains Vinet. “Then the system learns the definition criteria, and can label other titles accordingly.”

‘Browsing by example’ is another intriguing possibility – simply select the kind of music you want to hear, on the basis of features such as tempo or orchestration, and the programme comes up with a list of comparable pieces.

Naturally, exploring musical content in this way requires a mode of visualisation. “So we have developed a system that analyses the temporal structure of a piece of music and develops a graphical map or interface based on that,” explains Vinet. “So if you click on one of the elements in the graphical map, you go directly to that part of the music. What’s more, using this algorithm you can generate a musical summary as a new file – condensing a long piece into a much shorter one, but complete with all its variations. Then you can manipulate musical content via the summary and the graphical map.”

Another way of navigating through musical documents involves the ability to separate different instruments, using sound manipulation techniques that reproduce sounds in space. Here, SemanticHIFI challenges the usual recorded music model, which is undoubtedly polyphonic: “We have to persuade the music industry to evolve its production process by providing multitrack recordings,” says Vinet. Being able to separate the instruments allows the listener to arrange an orchestra in space, choosing where to place the violins, for example. It invites listeners and musicians to really understand the construction of a piece, and play along with it. “The system even includes simplified musical instruments that you can play with, using your voice,” Vinet explains.

SemanticHIFI’s system architecture has several components: a hi-fi box in the living room will house most of the capabilities. PC applications will enable more advanced functions, such as performance ones. Other capabilities are peer-to-peer file sharing – “In a non-copyright infringing way,” Vinet insists. “Users can share metadata – their indexing and manipulations – but not original tracks. The computer identifies the original behind the metadata, and if you don’t own it, will suggest you buy it. SemanticHIFI is therefore compatible with the commercial model.”

The project counts Berlin’s Native Instruments and the Sony European Technology Centre (Stuttgart) as its industrial partners. Sony handles the integration of the technologies into a box, which is the next step. “We’re two-thirds of the way there,” says Vinet. “All the technologies have been validated and the first application prototypes will be ready early in 2006, for a first trial at the Cité des Sciences in Paris.” He believes it is up to industry to decide the commercial future of the project: “The box itself may be a product, and parts of it may be adapted into mobiles or games – there are many possibilities,” he says.

But whatever form SemanticHIFI takes, one thing is for sure: listening to music will never be the same again.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>