Three IJCNN papers from the AMAAI lab this year!

I'm very happy to announce that our lab had three papers accepted at the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN) on the topics of controllable music generation with emotion and structure, as well as audio transcription. More info on these three projects below:

Makris D., Agres K., Herremans D.. 2021. Sen2Seq: A Conditional seq2seq Framework for Generating Lead Sheets with Sentiment. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN). Download preprint.

The field of automatic music composition has seen great progress in the last few years, much of which can be attributed to advances in deep neural networks. There are numerous studies that present different strategies for generating sheet music from scratch. The inclusion of high-level musical characteristics (e.g., perceived emotional qualities), however, as conditions for controlling the generation output remains a challenge. In this paper, we present a novel approach for calculating the valence (the positivity or negativity of the perceived emotion) of a chord progression within a lead sheet, using pre-defined mood tags proposed by music experts. Based on this approach, we propose a novel strategy for conditional lead sheet generation that allows us to steer the music generation in terms of valence, phrasing, and time signature. Our approach is similar to a Neural Machine Translation (NMT) problem, as we include high-level conditions in the encoder part of the sequence-to-sequence architectures used (i.e., long-short term memory networks, and a Transformer network). We conducted experiments to thoroughly analyze these two architectures. The results show that the proposed strategy is able to generate lead sheets in a controllable manner, resulting in distributions of musical attributes similar to those of the training dataset. We also verified through a subjective listening test that our approach is effective in controlling the valence of a generated chord progression.

Cheuk K.W., Luo Y.J., Benetos E., Herremans D.. 2021. Revisiting the Onsets and Frames Model with Additive Attention. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN). Download preprint.

Recent advances in automatic music transcription (AMT) have achieved highly accurate polyphonic piano transcription results by incorporating onset and offset detection. The existing literature, however, focuses mainly on the leverage of deep and complex models to achieve state-of-the-art (SOTA) accuracy, without understanding model behaviour. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive examination of the Onsets-and-Frames AMT model, and pinpoint the essential components contributing to a strong AMT performance. This is achieved through exploitation of a modified additive attention mechanism. The experimental results suggest that the attention mechanism beyond a moderate temporal context does not benefit the model, and that rule-based post-processing is largely responsible for the SOTA performance. We also demonstrate that the onsets are the most significant attentive feature regardless of model complexity. The findings encourage AMT research to weigh more on both a robust onset detector and an effective post-processor.

Guo Z, Makris D., Herremans D.. 2021. Hierarchical Recurrent Neural Networks for Conditional Melody Generation with Long-term Structure. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN). Download preprint.

The rise of deep learning technologies has quickly advanced many fields, including that of generative music systems. There exist a number of systems that allow for the generation of good sounding short snippets, yet, these generated snippets often lack an overarching, longer-term structure. In this work, we propose CM-HRNN: a conditional melody generation model based on a hierarchical recurrent neural network. This model allows us to generate melodies with long-term structures based on given chord accompaniments. We also propose a novel, concise event-based representation to encode musical lead sheets while retaining the notes' relative position within the bar with respect to the musical meter. With this new data representation, the proposed architecture can simultaneously model the rhythmic, as well as the pitch structures in an effective way. Melodies generated by the proposed model were extensively evaluated in quantitative experiments as well as a user study to ensure the musical quality of the output as well as to evaluate if they contain repeating patterns. We also compared the system with the state-of-the-art AttentionRNN. This comparison shows that melodies generated by CM-HRNN contain more repeated patterns (i.e., higher compression ratio) and a lower tonal tension (i.e., more tonally concise). Results from our listening test indicate that CM-HRNN outperforms AttentionRNN in terms of long-term structure and overall rating.