This project is no longer maintained.

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Unfortunately, neither of these are easy to use on Android. If anyone wants to take over this project please let me know.

A lightweight beat detection library designed for simplicity and portability

What it does

lwbd detects rhythmic onsets (beats) in digital audio. Feed it an audio file, and lwbd will provide you with the time location and sound energy of each beat it detects.

Platforms & Formats

lwbd ultimately aims to support all major audio formats. However, due to runtime compatibility issues, some formats are currently unsupported on certain platforms.

Regardless of encoding, 44.1kHz is the only sample rate supported. lwbd assumes all audio it receives is sampled at 44.1 kHz, so if you pass it data of the wrong sample rate, you'll get garbage output.

Format availability by platform:

Format Android Desktop (JavaSE)
MP3 Yes Yes
Ogg Vorbis In Progress In Progress
FLAC No In Progress


lwbd's capabilities are accessed through a single method, BeatDetector.detectBeats().

File audioFile = new File("/path/to/audiofile.mp3");
Beat[] beats = BeatDetector.detectBeats(audioFile, AudioType.MP3);

BeatDetector provides overloads of this method that support additional input sources and options. See src/v4lk/lwbd/Examples.java for examples.


Any audio library written in Java must take special care with respect to portability, because some platforms (specifially Android) do not implement the Java Sound API. Most audio libraries in Java are inextricably dependent on this API, and as a result, only work in environments that provide the full JavaSE runtime. I have taken great pains to ensure the compatibility of lwbd's core with all major subsets of Java, but it simply isn't feasible for me to write a platform-independent decoder from scratch for each format I want to support.

Instead, lwbd's strategy is to pilfer the sources for external decoder libraries, wrap them for compatibility, and section them off by platform. None of this is exposed to client code; for (lots of) convenience, lwbd handles decoding audio behind the scenes. Decoders are located in v4lk.lwbd.decoders. The pilfered sources they wrap are in v4lk.lwbd.decoders.processing. If you want to add support for new formats or platforms, the process is:

  1. Fork lwbd.
  2. Implement the interface v4lk.lwbd.decoders.Decoder to add your new decoder.
  3. Send me a pull request. If it works, I'll merge it in.

The interface only has one method and is extensively Javadoc'd. I've tried to


lwbd's beat detection algorithm is an implementation of Frédéric Patin's Frequency Selected Sound Energy Algorithm #1, found in his excellent paper "Beat Detection Algorithms."