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Vienna University of Technology
Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems
Information & Software Engineering Group

Music Information Retrieval

Logo Music Information Retrieval at TU Vienna IFS
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Audio Feature Extraction

Music Classification


Audio Chord Detection

Audio Source Separation

Audio Segmentation

The MediaSquare

Glove FX

Beat Circles

Query by Example

Acoustic Evaluation

PlaySOM - Organisation of Music Archives

PocketSOMPlayer - Music Spaces on Mobile Devices

Map of Mozart

Visualization Enhancements


SOM Racer

Our team has a strong background in Information Retrieval in general, but particularly also in Music Information Retrieval, since 1999.

Facing larger and larger collections of audio, both in private and professional domains, we are researching for ways to make these massive volumes of content accessible to the users. Currently, the search in music repositories is mostly limited to textual queries on meta-data fields, which moreover require manual annotation effort beforehand.

download TU Wien IFS MIR leaflet

Our research focuses on various methods of indexing and structuring audio collections, as well as providing intuitive user interfaces to facilitate exploration of musical libraries. Machine learning techniques are used to e xtract semantic information, group audio by similarity, or classify it into various categories. We developed advanced visualization techniques to provide intuitive interfaces to audio collections on standard PC as well as mobile devices. Our solutions automatically organize music according to its sound characteristics such that we find similar pieces of music grouped together, enabling direct access to and intuitive instant playback according to one's current mood.

Have a look at our leaflet/brochure (PDF) for a brief overview of our topics.

The following page gives a comprehensive overview of our research topics. Click on each topic to find out more details about the different approaches. For further inquiries, please contact Prof. Andreas Rauber.

NEWS: We organized the 2nd Waves Vienna Music Hackday on 30 Sep + 1 Oct 2016.

Audio Feature Analysis

We are researching advanced methods for extracting semantic information from music, such as rhythm, presence of voice, timbre, etc, using digital signal processing and psycho-acoustics. These feature extraction algorithms are the basis to many subsequent tasks, like automatic music categorization and organization. [more...]

Music Classification

Applying machine learning methods and employing the features calculated from audio signal analysis we built a system performing categorization of music pieces into a pre-defined taxonomy, corresponding to the user's likes. The system has to be trained with a number of examples and is then able to categorize music into different classes, e.g. music genres (classical, jazz, hip hop, electronic, ...) or also identify artists. We also investigate combination of textual with audio information for music classification, and the recognition of moods and emotions in music. [more...]


The Million Song Dataset (MSD) enables testing Music Information Retrieval methods on a large-scale dataset. The MSD comes as a collection of meta-data such as the song names, artists and albums, together with a set of features extracted with the The Echo Nest services.
We extend this by a more comprehensive set of data based on the MSD, allowing its broader use as benchmark collection, providing a wide and growing collection of other well-known features in the MIR domain, and ground truth data for classification tasks, with a set of recommended training/test splits. [more...]


PlaySOM - Organisation of Music Archives

The PlaySOM project is about unsupervised organisation of whole music archives, which means that no training of the system is necessary. We apply the Self-Organizing Map (SOM) algorithm on audio features and are thus able to organize a music archive on an intuitive map, grouping audio tracks by their perceived acoustic similarity. Music with a similar style is located close to each other, building clusters (or islands), while music with different style is located farther away. As the name says, the system is compeletely self-organizing, and thus overcomes traditional genre boundaries and adapts individually depending on the music archive used. [more...]

PocketSOMPlayer - Browsing Music on Mobile Devices

Large music collections are becoming more and more important also for the mobile user. People are able to carry their complete audio collection with them on portable devices. Especially these small mobile devices are in a need of intuitive and intelligent access to music collctions. Manually searching through directory structures and sorting music into playlists is no way to enjoy music, especially when one wants to listen to music of a particular mood. We are bringing the PlaySOM concept also to state-of-the-art mobile devices, enabling a range of new scenarios. [more...]

Map of Mozart

We extracted acoustic features from the complete works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and created an interactive Map of Mozart. The map provides an immediate overview of all works by Mozart. The shape of the map was chosen to resemble Mozart's silhouette by using the MnemonicSOM algorithm. A semi-transparent layer enables the visualization of both Mozart's head and the Islands of Music metaphor for intuitive browsing and selection of the music. Using the PlaySOM application, all pieces of music ever composed by Mozart can thus be retrieved, and the web demo shows the concept on a number of freely available recordings. [more...]



GloveFX is a glove-based tangible interface, which aims to bring some of the versatility of modern electronic instruments to their acoustic counterparts and allows for intuitive real-time manipulation of sound through a data glove and a Raspberry Pi. [more...]

Beat Circles

Beat Circles represents music graphically in real-time in a aesthetically pleasing and informative way. It allows users that are not proficient with music to better understand and interact with the piece using intuitive creative thought. [more...]

The MediaSquare - 3D Multimedia Environment

We developed a 3D Multimedia environment where users are impersonated as avatars enabling them to browse and experience multimedia content by literally walking through it. Users may engage in conversations with other members of the community, exchange experiences or simply enjoy the featured content. [more...]


Query by Example for MIDI files

This system is a framework for analysing and evaluating MIDI feature extraction and comparison algorithms. The interface enables querying MIDI files by examples or note input and allows retrieval by different criteria with various weighting functings. [more...]

Audio Chord Detection

We developed a chord detection algorithm incorporating music theoretical knowledge in the form of key detection, beat tracking and chord-change frequencies improving the detection of chords in audio without restricting it to a narrow range of applicable music styles. [more...]

Audio Source Separation

The goal of (blind) audio source separation is to separate audio tracks into their sources, i.e. sounds or tones from instruments.
We investigate a novel approach based on template extraction by making use of the repetitive structure of music. Each occurring sound is represented by a template which is adapted during an iterative training process to better represent its sound.


Acoustic Evaluation of Music Similarity

The evaluation of "similarity" between pieces of music is a non-trivial task because human cognition of music and perception of similarity is biased by subjective interpretation and reasoning based on knowledge and conventions of the real world. We developed a tool enabling efficient acoustic evaluation of music similarity, making use of dynamic sequential and parallel playback, also allowing to explore and analyze structured audio repositories much faster and more efficiently. [more...]

Automatic Audio Segmentation

Automatic audio segmentation aims at extracting information on a songs structure, i.e. segment boundaries and recurrent structures (i.e. verse, chorus, bridge etc.). This information can be used to create representative song excerpts, to facilitate browsing in large music collections or to improve other applications such as music categorization. [more...]

SOM Racer - interactive music explorer

SOMRacer combines the functionality of the PlaySOM and PocketSOMPlayer applications with the look-and-feel of the classic open-source game TUX Racer. Self Organizing Maps serve as three-dimensional music landscapes, which can be explored by the player. The collected music tracks are exported as playlist. [more...]

Visualization Enhancements

PlaySOM provides a number of intuitive visualization methods making browsing through music a pleasure. We implemented the U-Matrix, showing distances between neighbouring clusters, Smoothed Data Histograms, showing a methaphor of Islands of Music, as well as Weather Charts, and more. Research on visualization methods is continuing to provide the most enjoyable means of access to the wealth of music possible. [more...]

SOMeJB - The SOM-enhanced JukeBox

SOMeJB, the SOM-enhanced JukeBox, commenced in 1999, established the basis for our browsing interfaces to music archives. The SOMeJB Music Digital Library Project aims at creating a browsable music archive by combining a variety of technologies from the fields of audio processing, neural networks, and information visualization, to create maps of music archives. It is based on the self-organizing map (SOM), a popular unsupervised neural network and its extension GHSOM. [more...]

last edited 27.07.2015 by Thomas Lidy