Music Query: Methods, Models, and User Studies
(Computing in Musicology 13)

Published by CCARH and The MIT Press, 2004.
ISBN: 0-262-58256-2

Spontaneous User Behavior in "Vocal" Queries for Music-Information Retrieval

Micheline Lesaffre, Dirk Moelants, and Marc Leman

Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music
Department of Musicology
Ghent University
Blindijnberg 2, B-9000 Belgium
Micheline.LeSaffre, Dirk.Moelants,
Project website:

Abstract: [ PDF ]

We report the findings of a study of spontaneous behavior involved in vocal queries for music-information retrieval (MIR) systems. Two conditions were investigated: reproducing music purely from long-term memory, and imitation after listening to the piece. When participants are allowed maximal freedom in the formation of queries, a range of behaviors is found. We first give a global view on the characteristics of music queries, then consider the effects of long- and short-term memory. Our aim is to show that an informed knowledge of human approaches to music-information retrieval can provide valuable insights into appropriate development of user-friendly, content-based access to digital music collections.