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1 General information

MARSYAS (Music Analysis Retrieval and Synthesis for Audio Signals) is a free software framework for audio analysis, synthesis and retrieval written by George Tzanetakis and community of developers from around the world. It has been in development for over 10 years and has been used for a variety of projects in academia and industry. More information about such projects as well as a list of publications related to Marsyas can be found at the Marsyas website Please direct any questions/comments about Marsyas to ( The major underlying theme under the design of Marsyas has been to provide an efficient and extensible framework for building audio analysis (and synthesis) applications with specific emphasis on Music Information Retrieval (MIR). A variety of building blocks for performing common audio tasks are provided. Some representative examples are: soundfile IO, audio IO, signal processing, and machine learning modules. These blocks can be composed into data flow networks that can be modified and controlled dynamically while they process data in soft real-time.

Another goal has been to accomodate two different types of users: naive and expert (of course in many cases the same person can operate in both modes). Naive users are able to construct networks of primitive objects and experiment with them through the use of controls. They can interact with the system through the use of graphical user interfaces or high level scripts without actually having to compile any code. Marsyas provides a high-level of control at runtime without sacrificing performance. Expert users can create new primitive objects and create more complex applications by writing code and compiling. These two modes of operation will become clearer in the following sections of the manual. As with any piece of software the holy grail is to provide maximum automatic support for the tasks that can be automated while retaining expressiveness and the ability to program complex systems for the particular domain of interest.

This framework has been created mainly to support the research of the developers in the emerging area of Music Information Retrieval (MIR). Anyone who finds the framework useful is welcome to use it and contribute to it.

There is a lot of work behind the development of Marsyas. Although Marsyas is and will remain free software, any form of financial or hardware support is more than welcome. The sourceforge page contains a link for people to donate money to the project and any contribution is welcome and will help further improve the framework. Also implementation of specific features can be motivated by donation. Finally for companies desiring to incorporate Marsyas into closed source software products a commercial license is also available (this dual licensing scheme is similar to the one used by Trolltech the company behind the Qt toolkit). For more information about the dual licensing contact George Tzanetakis.