Erasing the Soloist

In past experiments I have only created orchestral accompaniment for pieces where I could get a recording of the orchestra "minus" the soloist. These have all come from the folks and Music Minus One, though another alternative would be just do the recording myself. Unfortunately, MMO has only a small library of standard favorites which doesn't even include the world's most poplular oboe concerto (Mozart). So while MMO might have covered the "greatest hits" of the piano and violin literature, overall their coverage is sparse.

In this experiment I have tried to remove the soloist from a "full" recording via signal processing means. I began with a very nice recording of the Strauss Oboe Concerto with Alex Klein and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I then matched this audio to an electronic score of the piece through polyphonic score matching. (You can read about this technique in my papers if you are interested.) Then, I simply zeroed out the regions of the spectrogram corresponding to the harmonics of the oboe. I then resynthesize using phase-vocoding.

Of course, one should expect a certain amount of damage due to such a procedure. In an unusual twist of fate, however, forces seem to conspire *in our favor* in this application. To a significant extent the live player, who plays at the same times and frequencies of the recorded soloist, occludes the parts of the spectrogram where the most damage has been done.