Characterization of Intonation in Carnatic Music by Parametrizing Pitch Histograms

TitleCharacterization of Intonation in Carnatic Music by Parametrizing Pitch Histograms
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
Conference NameInternational Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2012)
AuthorsKoduri, G. K., Serrà J., & Serra X.
Conference Start Date08/10/2012
Conference LocationPorto
Keywordshistogram analysis, Indian art music, intonation
AbstractIntonation is an important concept in Carnatic music that is characteristic of a raaga, and intrinsic to the musical expression of a performer. In this paper we approach the description of intonation from a computational perspective, obtaining a compact representation of the pitch track of a recording. First, we extract pitch contours from automatically selected voice segments. Then, we obtain a pitch histogram of its full pitch-range, normalized by the tonic frequency, from which each prominent peak is automatically labelled and parametrized. We validate such parametrization by considering an explorative classification task: three raagas are disambiguated using the characterization of a single peak (a task that would seriously challenge a more naive parametrization). Results show consistent improvements for this particular task. Furthermore, we perform a qualitative assessment on a larger collection of raagas, showing the discriminative power of the entire representation. The proposed generic parametrization of the intonation histogram should be useful for musically relevant tasks such as performer and instrument characterization.