Trilsbeek, P., Desain, P., and Honing, H. (2001) Spectral Analysis of Timing Profiles of Piano Performances. Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference. San Francisco: ICMA.


Musicians use a large amount of expressive freedom in timing and tempo. Therefore robust systems that retrieve temporal information from musical performances, such as beat trackers or quantizers, are still hard to design. Adding knowledge about the behavior of musicians to such systems can improve the performance. In this paper we will investigate whether there are systematic differences between groups of pianists in the way their tempo fluctuates while playing the same piece. Also we will look whether the global tempo at which a piece is performed has an influence on the tempo fluctuations. The method we developed for this is comparing power spectra of the timing profiles of these performances. If at a certain position in the spectrum a high value occurs, it means there is a lot of tempo change on that 'frequency' in the performance.

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