[ 30. Juli 2016 ]

NEWS – Database

Von: David Hirst via cec conference

Datum: Fri, 29 Jul 2016

Betreff: Re: [cec-c] Database

Sound Databases

Ways of categorising and organising sound files on computer usually

start with organising sounds into directories or folder according to

some kind of categorisation. This traditional system is a hierarchical

system, with sounds stored in different levels of classification from

general to specific. This system starts to break down when a large

number of files and/or a large number of attributes makes finding

something, by searching manually, long and laborious. Using database

techniques means “tagged” files can be saved anywhere and then retrieved

using semi-automated search techniques.

Describing, tagging and categorising sound files

Describing, tagging and categorising sound files can be though of as two

main types:

Metadata tagging – Describing the file with attributes like Title,

Date, Composer, Artist, Genre, Sampling rate, bit rate, etc. Often

this type of data can be stored within the sound file, e.g. mp3,

WAV. This is usually a combination of data within the sound file

standard, and “hand-curated” data that is entered by hand by a

person. It is the sort of data used by music sales companies like

iTunes, which combines this information with music listener

information, in order to market music. Sometimes composers, sound

designers, and librarians want to add extra descriptors and

categories that must sit outside the sound file itself. Attributes

like: where, when, and what was recorded. Plus descriptions of

physical attributes of the sound (long/short, high/low), semantic

references (dog bark), and onomatopoeic references (whooshing sound)

etc etc. Metadata tagging produces a textual list of attributes.

Tagging using physical data derived from the sound – Usually this is

achieved by mathematical analysis of the sound file to produce

specific data from the sound file like: event onset times, spectral

centroid, spectral flux, pitch tracking, loudness, number of zero

crossings, etc, etc. The aim, in this case, is to reduce the sample

rate data to a specific (smaller) “vector” of attributes. Such

vectors can lead to the “finger-printing” of a file which can be

used to find similar files etc. e.g. Shazam. Physical signal

analysis produces a vector of attributes in text and numbers.

Regarding Metadata Programs

Paul Virostek has two articles on the creativefieldrecording.com site:

This one is an intro to Metadata:


And this one reviews various sound metadata apps:


Program Links

Here is a list of the reviewed metadata programs, and more. Most of the

commercial products have entry level and pro versions for people on

different budgets. Paul Virostek’s review concludes with suggestions for

people on various budgets:

Full-Featured Metadata Apps

Soundminer (Win/Mac) – from $199.00 to $899.00 Soundminer HD is a cut

down version, see store.soundminer.com/mac-win-hd-product.html

And read their Metadata white paper here:


Basehead (Win/Mac) – http://www.baseheadinc.com

Library Monkey (Mac) – http://www.monkey-tools.com/products/

AudioFinder (Mac) – http://www.icedaudio.com/site/

ifoundasound – has been discontinued, but still has a free version

online for Windows users: ifoundasound.com/?page_id=6

Get soundly replaces ifoundasound and works with online libraries like

freesound.org , but Soundly can also index all

your local sound effects, see getsoundly.com

Apple iTunes (Win/Mac) Free – can be shoe-horned to include search and

metadata functions.


Simpler Metadata Editing Apps

Digital Confidence’s MetadataTouch (Win) $60 $80 –


TwistedWave (Mac) $80 – twistedwave.com/mac.html

Sound Devices Wave Agent (Win/Mac) Free with registration –


BWF MetaEdit (Win/Mac) – (free) bwfmetaedit.sourceforge.net

Splat Sound FX Database (Win) – (free) gersic.com/splat/

Limit Point Software’s Commenteer (Mac) –


(Or purchase from the Apple App Store – $20)

Read-Only Metadata Apps

Snapper $79 – is like a quick look tool for Macs:


but could be used in conjunction with Commenteer and the Finder to

classify and find files.

Other Apps not in the Review Article

Sonicwire Mutant (Win/Mac) – Free Version sonicwire.com/mutant

SoundLib (Win/Mac) – $15 http://www.rootsolutions.de/soundlib/index.htm

FindSounds Palette (Win) – Various Versions $20+


RyAudio Sample Librarian (Win) – 40€ http://www.ryaudio.com/

74mph Solutions WavSniper (Win) – $49.95


Revel Breezer (Win) – Free Express Edition / Home Edition 14.90€ /

Professional Edition 49.90€ http://www.revel-software.it/

Rapid Evolution (Win) http://www.mixshare.com/re3preview.html

– helps find key & bpm information

MusicBee (Win) getmusicbee.com/

– audio player with many customizable fields. (Free or donate.)

Make Your Own

Filemaker Pro (Mac) – a general database creation program. ($329 USD)

View its “Content Management” starter tool on this page:


OpenOffice (Multi-platform) – Free. Use the database design feature

“Base” to create your own database:


Research Apps

Psychology researchers:

PRAAT – can perform various kinds of signal analysis and allow you to

annotate various points in a file using the “Text Grid” feature.


Education or Linguistic researchers, or anyone wanting to annotate video

or audio recordings, or do qualitative research:

NVIVO – Expensive but comprehensive. http://www.qsrinternational.com/product

Atlas TI – Also expensive but comprehensive. atlasti.com

Sonic Annotator is a batch tool for feature extraction and annotation of

audio files using Vamp plugins. vamp-plugins.org/sonic-annotator/

can work in association with:

Sonic Visualiser is an application for viewing and analysing the

contents of music audio files. http://www.sonicvisualiser.org

EAnalysis – is a similar program by Pierre Couprie.


For the many and varied Music Information Retrieval (MIR) applications,

see the “analysis” entries in lists like:


Two notables are:

Marsyas (Music Analysis, Retrieval and Synthesis for Audio Signals), and

MIR Toolbox – Functions written in Matlab dedicated to the extraction of

musical features from audio files.

Dr David Hirst

Jul 2016


Associate Professor David Hirst, PhD

Honorary Principal Fellow

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

The University of Melbourne

Building 141, Gate 12, Royal Parade,

Parkville, Victoria 3010 Australia

Ph: 0413 325 001

Email: d.hirst@unimelb.edu.au d.hirst@unimelb.edu.au>

Compositions and research: davidhirstmusic.wordpress.com/about/

/The Faculty of VCA and MCM respectfully acknowledges the Boonwurung and

Wurundjeri people of the Eastern Kulin nation./