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Melody extraction algorithms aim to produce a sequence of frequency values corresponding to the pitch of the dominant melody from a musical recording. Over the past decade, melody extraction has emerged as an active research topic, comprising a large variety of proposed algorithms spanning a wide range of techniques. This article provides an overview of these techniques, the applications for which melody extraction is useful, and the challenges that remain. We start with a discussion of ?melody? from both musical and signal processing perspectives and provide a case study that interprets the output of a melody extraction algorithm for specific excerpts. We then provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of melody extraction algorithms based on the results of an international evaluation campaign. We discuss issues of algorithm design, evaluation, and applications that build upon melody extraction. Finally, we discuss some of the remaining challenges in melody extraction research in terms of algorithmic performance, development, and evaluation methodology.