Music analysis software - where is it?
June 16, 2008 10:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for either free software or an API that could take a wav file and parse it.

I'm looking for either free software or an API that could take a wav file and parse it. I'd like it to give me information about the pitches, rhythm, or timbre contained in the wav file. I'm basically interested in any form of musical information as output. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to give me something.

I'm asking because a friend of mine is teaching a class in which he wants to have students to come up with an automated way of making judgments about music. I don't know how well-versed they are in programming, so the less technical the better, but if a C++ library is the best there is, so be it.

I know it's gotta be out there, but the thing is, I can't figure out what the right thing to type into Google is. Do you happen to know?
posted by ignignokt to Technology (5 answers total)
 
Free or not?

For free, Perl has free implementations on any platform the students are on and a metric asston of modules to use.

This was the first result when I googled 'perl wav' and it seems like a great starting point. 'perl sound frequency' turned this up.

Non free, this is exactly what MATLAB excels at, and it'll happily bring in an audio file for you to do analysis on.

That said, this isn't a terribly trivial request here - I dunno what the level of your friend's students are, but intro to signal analysis is an entire course at the college level. Unless you mean that you want to find a piece of software that will barf up those statistics and they'll then use that information to draw conclusions, asking students w/o a frequency analysis grounding to do this is pretty challenging.
posted by phearlez at 11:53 AM on June 16, 2008


If you want a program, Audacity would work. It's not an API, so I'm not sure by your more inside either how technical your friend wants the students to get.
posted by zap rowsdower at 12:00 PM on June 16, 2008


phearlez: Whoa, perl! I wouldn't've thunk it, thanks.

Yeah, I don't know these students, and I told him this is pretty involved stuff, but he thought they were pretty bright high school students and could handle some scripting. So, I'll pass these suggestions on to him and let him work out how to present it.

zap: Oh, yeah. I forgot Audacity had spectral analysis. That's something.
posted by ignignokt at 1:23 PM on June 16, 2008


Yeah, I don't know these students, and I told him this is pretty involved stuff, but he thought they were pretty bright high school students and could handle some scripting.

I'm sure they can - I think for the most parts students rise to the level of expectation set for them. I'd just suggest to him he not think of it in terms of what they're capable of learning but rather what he chooses to spend his limited time with them doing - explaining signal processing or working on music? Certainly where they intersect is a good place to focus but does he really want to spend time discussing sinusoids, phasors, and frequency shifts?
posted by phearlez at 7:43 AM on June 17, 2008


I haven't tried it myself, but it seems like the Echo Nest API is exactly what you might be looking for.
posted by tsetsefly at 5:13 AM on June 20, 2008


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