PCP Teaser

Lecture: Music Structure Analysis

After working through the material of this lecture, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What are the general principles for segmenting and structuring music recordings?
  • How can musical forms be described and encoded?
  • Which musical and acoustical properties may determine structural segments? What are suitable feature representations that capture these properties?
  • What is the difference between a cost measure and a similarity measure?
  • What is the definition of a self-similarity matrix (SSM)?
  • Which structural properties are encoded by paths, blocks, and block corners visible in SSMs?
  • How can a segment, a path, and a block be modeled mathematically? What are induced segments of a path or block? How can one define a score of a path or block? (See Eq. 4.4 to Eq. 4.10).
  • What is a general pipeline for music structure analysis?
  • What is the basic idea of a novelty-based approach for finding segment boundaries? What is a checkerboard kernel? What is a novelty function? (See Eq. 4.38 and Eq. 4.43.)
  • In which way does the novelty function depend on the size of the checkerboard kernel?

Reading Assignments

  • Chapter 4, Müller, FMP, Springer 2021
    • Introduction to Chapter 4
  • Section 4.1: General Principles
    • Section 4.1.1: Segmentation and Structure Analysis
    • Section 4.1.2: Musical Structure
    • Section 4.1.3: Musical Dimensions
  • Section 4.2: Self-Similarity Matrices
    • Section 4.2.1: Basic Definitions and Properties
  • Section 4.4: Novelty-Based Segmentation
    • Section 4.4.1: Novelty Detection



There are a number of nicely made videos on song structures and musical forms. Here is a selection.

  • Song Structure in Music Explained (How To Arrange Your Songs) (6:00)
    Song structure; "Out of Love" by Cinzia & The Eclipse; introduction; verse; pre-chorus; chorus; repeating sections; bridge; outro; dynamic; texture; musical forms
  • The Anatomy of a Song (4:22)
    Chorus; hook; memorability; emotional impact; verse; story telling; lyrics; variety; changing instrumentation; bridge; breakup; new musical ideas
  • What is Sonata Form? (5:07)
    Exposition; development; recapitulation; primary theme; second theme; different keys
  • All About Rondo Form in Music (8:58)
    Theme; main part; interspersed episodes; ABACABA; tonal structure; third movement of Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata

Question & Answer Session

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