Swing Ratio Estimation

Ugo Marchand; Geoffroy Peeters
DAFx-2015 - Trondheim
Swing is a typical long-short rhythmical pattern that is mostly present in jazz music. In this article, we propose an algorithm to automatically estimate how much a track, a frame of a track, is swinging. We denote this by swing ratio. The algorithm we propose is based on the analysis of the auto-correlation of the onset energy function of the audio signal and a simple set of rules. For the purpose of the evaluation of this algorithm, we propose and share the “GTZAN-rhythm” test-set, which is an extension of a well-known test-set by adding annotations of the whole rhythmical structure (downbeat, beat and eight-note positions). We test our algorithm for two tasks: detecting tracks with or without swing, and estimating the amount of swing. Our algorithm achieves 91% mean recall. Finally we use our annotations to study the relationship between the swing ratio and the tempo (study the common belief that swing ratio decreases linearly with the tempo) and the musicians. How much and how to swing is never written on scores, and is therefore something to be learned by the jazzstudents mostly by listening. Our algorithm could be useful for jazz student who wants to learn what is swing.