Real-Time Pitch Determination of One or More Voices by Nonnegative Matrix Factorization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 17 (NIPS 2004)

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Fei Sha, Lawrence Saul


An auditory "scene", composed of overlapping acoustic sources, can be viewed as a complex object whose constituent parts are the individual sources. Pitch is known to be an important cue for auditory scene analy- sis. In this paper, with the goal of building agents that operate in human environments, we describe a real-time system to identify the presence of one or more voices and compute their pitch. The signal processing in the front end is based on instantaneous frequency estimation, a method for tracking the partials of voiced speech, while the pattern-matching in the back end is based on nonnegative matrix factorization, an unsupervised algorithm for learning the parts of complex objects. While supporting a framework to analyze complicated auditory scenes, our system maintains real-time operability and state-of-the-art performance in clean speech.