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Long-term Average Spectrum in Popular Music and its Relation to the Level of the Percussion

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The spectral distribution of music audio has an important influence on listener perception, but large-scale characterizations are lacking. Therefore, the long-term average spectrum (LTAS) was analyzed for a large dataset of popular music. The mean LTAS was computed, visualized, and then approximated with two quadratic fittings. The fittings were subsequently used to derive the spectrum slope. By applying harmonic/percussive source separation, the relationship between LTAS and percussive prominence was investigated. A clear relationship was found; tracks with more percussion have a relatively higher LTAS in the bass and high frequencies. We show how this relationship can be used to improve targets in automatic equalization. Furthermore, we assert that variations in LTAS between genres is mainly a side-effect of percussive prominence.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society