Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Dennis Sun

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


In 1889, a representative of Thomas Edison recorded Johannes Brahms playing a piano arrangement of his piece titled “Hungarian Dance No. 1”. This recording acts as a window into how musical masters played in the 19th century. Yet, due to years of damage on the original recording medium of a wax cylinder, it was un-listenable by the time it was digitized into WAV format. This thesis presents machine learning approaches to an audio restoration system for historic music, which aims to convert this poor-quality Brahms piano recording into a higher quality one. Digital signal processing is paired with two machine learning approaches: non-negative matrix factorization and deep neural networks. Our results show the advantages and disadvantages of our approaches, when we compare them to a benchmark restoration of the same recording made by the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University. They also show how this system provides the restoration potential for a wide range of historic music artifacts like this recording, requiring minimal overhead made possible by machine learning. Finally, we go into possible future improvements to these approaches.