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Automatic music type classification is very helpful for the management of digital music databases. In this paper, the octave-based spectral contrast feature is proposed to represent the spectral characteristics of a music clip. It represented the relative spectral distribution instead of average spectral envelope. Experiments show that the octave-based spectral contrast feature performs well in music type classification. Another comparison experiment demonstrates that the octave-based spectral contrast feature has a better discrimination among different music types than mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC), which is often used in previous music type classification systems.