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This paper presents a brief overview of recent approaches to two problems in music information retrieval: query by example and automated source separation. It describes the challenges inherent in musical query by example and the systems that take very different approaches to the problem. The paper also explores approaches to source separation in a musical context, focusing on systems that take distinct approaches to the problem. Finally, it comments about the future directions for digital signal processing (DSP) research in the context of music information retrieval.