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Automatic Characterization of Flamenco Singing by Analyzing Audio Recordings

Title Automatic Characterization of Flamenco Singing by Analyzing Audio Recordings
Publication Type Master Thesis
Year of Publication 2013
Authors Kroher, N.

Flamenco singing is a highly expressive improvisational artform characterized by its deviation from the Western tonal system, freedom in rhythmic interpretation and a high amount of melodic ornamentation. Consequently, a singing performance represents a fusion of style-related constraints and the individual spontaneous interpretation. This study focuses on the description of the characteristics of a particular singer. In order to find suitable feature sets, a genre-specific automatic singer identification is implemented. For Western classical and popular music, related approaches have mainly relied on the extraction of timbre-based features to automatically recognize a singer by analyzing audio recordings. However, a classification solely based on spectral descriptors is prone to errors for low quality audio recordings. In order to obtain a more robust approach, low-level timbre features are combined with vibrato- and performance-related descriptors. Furthermore, differences among interpretations within a style are analyzed: Versions of the same a cappella cante have a common melodic skeleton which is subject to strong, individually determined melodic and rhythmic modifications. Similarity among such performances is modeled by applying dynamic time-warping to align automatic transcriptions and extracting performance-related descriptors. Resulting distances are evaluated by analyzing their correlation to human ratings.