REpeating pattern extraction technique (REPET): A simple method for music/voice separation

Zafar Rafii*, Bryan A Pardo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Repetition is a core principle in music. Many musical pieces are characterized by an underlying repeating structure over which varying elements are superimposed. This is especially true for pop songs where a singer often overlays varying vocals on a repeating accompaniment. On this basis, we present the REpeating Pattern Extraction Technique (REPET), a novel and simple approach for separating the repeating background from the non-repeating foreground in a mixture. The basic idea is to identify the periodically repeating segments in the audio, compare them to a repeating segment model derived from them, and extract the repeating patterns via time-frequency masking. Experiments on data sets of 1,000 song clips and 14 full-track real-world songs showed that this method can be successfully applied for music/voice separation, competing with two recent state-of-the-art approaches. Further experiments showed that REPET can also be used as a preprocessor to pitch detection algorithms to improve melody extraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6269059
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Melody extraction
  • music structure analysis
  • music/voice separation
  • repeating patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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