Towards a Computational Model of Melody Identification in Polyphonic Music

Søren Tjagvad Madsen, Gerhard Widmer

This paper presents first steps towards a simple, robust computational model of automatic melody identification. Based on results from music psychology that indicate a relationship between melodic complexity and a listener's attention, we postulate a relationship between musical complexity and the probability of a musical line to be perceived as the melody. We introduce a simple measure of melodic complexity, present an algorithm for predicting the most likely melody note at any point in a piece, and show experimentally that this simple approach works surprisingly well in rather complex music.