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Semiotic Description of Music Structure: An Introduction to the Quaero/Metiss Structural Annotations

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Interest has been steadily growing in semantic audio and music information retrieval for the description of music structure, i.e. the global organization of music pieces in terms of large-scale structural units. This article presents a detailed methodology for the semiotic description of music structure, based on concepts and criteria which are formulated as generically as possible. We sum up the essential principles and practices developed during an annotation effort deployed by our research group (Metiss) on audio data, in the context of the Quaero project, which has led to the public release of over 380 annotations of pop songs from three different data sets. The paper also includes a few case studies and a concise statistical overview of the annotated data.

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