Current Challenges in the Evaluation of Predominant Melody Extraction Algorithms

J. Salamon and J. Urbano
International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, pp. 289-294, 2012.


In this paper we analyze the reliability of the evaluation of Audio Melody Extraction algorithms. We focus on the procedures and collections currently used as part of the annual Music Information Retrieval Evaluation eXchange (MIREX), which has become the de-facto benchmark for evaluating and comparing melody extraction algorithms. We study several factors: the duration of the audio clips, time offsets in the ground truth annotations, and the size and musical content of the collection. The results show that the clips currently used are too short to predict performance on full songs, highlighting the paramount need to use complete musical pieces. Concerning the ground truth, we show how a minor error, specifically a time offset between the annotation and the audio, can have a dramatic effect on the results, emphasizing the importance of establishing a common protocol for ground truth annotation and system output. We also show that results based on the small ADC04, MIREX05 and INDIAN08 collections are unreliable, while the MIREX09 collections are larger than necessary. This evidences the need for new and larger collections containing realistic music material, for reliable and meaningful evaluation of Audio Melody Extraction.