Analysing Music with Point-Set Compression Algorithms

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Several point-set pattern-discovery and compression algorithms designed for analysing music are reviewed and evaluated. Each algorithm takes as input a point-set representation of a score in which each note is represented as a point in pitch-time space. Each algorithm computes the maximal translatable patterns (MTPs) in this input and the translational equivalence classes (TECs) of these MTPs, where each TEC contains all the occurrences of a given MTP. Each TEC is encoded as a ⟨pattern,vector set⟩ pair, in which the vector set gives all the vectors by which the pattern can be translated in pitch-time space to give other patterns in the input dataset. Encoding TECs in this way leads, in general, to compression, since each occurrence of a pattern within a TEC (apart from one) is encoded by a single vector, that has the same information content as one point. The algorithms reviewed here adopt different strategies aimed at selecting a set of MTP TECs that collectively cover (or almost cover) the input dataset in a way that maximizes compression. The algorithms are evaluated on two musicological tasks: classifying folk song melodies into tune families and discovering repeated themes and sections in pieces of classical music. On the first task, the best-performing algorithms achieved success rates of around 84%. In the second task, the best algorithms achieved mean F1 scores of around 0.49, with scores for individual pieces rising as high as 0.71.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputational Music Analysis
EditorsDavid Meredith
Number of pages32
VolumePart V
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-25929-1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-25931-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • geometric pattern discovery
  • music analysis
  • compression
  • algorithms
  • point-set patterns
  • pattern mining


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