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In this paper, we present an MPEG-7-based audio classification and retrieval technique targeted for analysis of film material. The technique consists of low-level descriptors and high-level description schemes. For low-level descriptors, low-dimensional features such as audio spectrum projection based on audio spectrum basis descriptors is produced in order to find a balanced tradeoff between reducing dimensionality and retaining maximum information content. High-level description schemes are used to describe the modeling of reduced-dimension features, the procedure of audio classification, and retrieval. A classifier based on continuous hidden Markov models is applied. The sound model state path, which is selected according to the maximum-likelihood model, is stored in an MPEG-7 sound database and used as an index for query applications. Various experiments are presented where the speaker- and sound-recognition rates are compared for different feature extraction methods. Using independent component analysis, we achieved better results than normalized audio spectrum envelope and principal component analysis in a speaker recognition system. In audio classification experiments, audio sounds are classified into selected sound classes in real time with an accuracy of 96%.