Inaugural Music Mind Meaning Conference – Peabody Institute

The inaugural Music Mind Meaning conference will take place at the Peabody Institute of Music of the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), January 30th and 31st, 2014.  The conference will feature papers by leading experts in the field of music cognition, including David Huron, Aniruddh Patel, and Isabelle Peretz, as well as musical performances by Vijay Iyer and Gary Thomas.

For a full list of speakers, additional information regarding registration, and a call for student posters (abstract submission deadline: Dec 5, 2013), please see http://www.mmmbaltimore2014. org/.

This conference is supported by a grant from the Brain Sciences Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Email for questions.

New England Sequencing & Timing (NEST) 2014 – Call for abstracts!

This is a regional semi-formal annual meeting of researchers involved in action/perception research that focus on some aspect of sequencing and timing, which includes a wide-range of areas of research from sensorimotor synchronization, to sleep, memory, speech, and motion (see NEST 2013 for a sample program). It is very much slanted toward psychology (rather than music), but every year there are at least a couple presentations of research on or related to music. Some past participants doing work on music include Bruno Repp (Haskins Laboratories, now retired; he organized the meetings for many years), Michael Schutz (McMater University;, Devin McAuley (Michigan State University;,

For the last few years, the meetings have been organized by Rebecca Spencer ( and John Kingston ( at the Cognac Lab ( at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. This year’s meeting will be held on Saturday, February 22; in the past, the meeting has been followed by drinks at a local venue and/or dinner in one of the organizer’s home.

Abstracts are selected on a first-come, first served basis, and I would be happy to drive up with a group of music cognition people from Yale! There is a small fee for participation to cover for breakfast and lunch. Let me know as soon as possible if you are interested. The two group projects and several of the individual projects would be perfectly appropriate for this event.

Online experiments go live!

This semester’s pilot studies have just gone live. If you would like to participate, go here:

These experiments were designed for pedagogical purposes and the risks involved in participating are minimal. We will be collecting data until at least Monday, December 2. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete each experiment; before doing the experiment, participants will be given a short questionnaire on their background. Participants are expected to complete the experiments in a quiet space and give it their full attention; there will be an opportunity to take a break during the experiment.

Please feel free to share the link with friends and colleagues!

NEMISIG 2014 – Call for participation

When: January 25th, 2014

Where: Columbia University, New York, NY

NEMISIG (North East Music Information Special Interest Group) is a yearly
informal workshop which brings together researchers from various
institutions in the Northeastern United States who work on music
information retrieval. The meeting provides a space for open discussion of
new ideas and intends to foster intercollegiate collaboration. NEMISIG
2014<> will
be held on January 25th at Columbia University in the newly opened
Studio@Butler <>. The event will be
immediately followed by Hacking Audio and Music Research
2014<> so
that attendees have the opportunity to develop new ideas and collaborations.


Participants are invited to present research either as a short talk or
during a poster session. Discussion of any work related to music
information retrieval is invited. We also encourage representatives from
each institution to give a short talk on the work being done in their
research group. Those interested in giving a talk or presenting a poster
should submit a short abstract using this
before January 14th, 2014.


All individuals who would like to attend should fill out this form <> before January 14th, 2014. Registration is free and researchers from any stage in their career are encouraged to participate.

For updates, questions, and suggestions, please join the NEMISIG Google group <!forum/nemisig>.

Final Assignments

Almost there!

First of the final assignments: Safe travels, rest, and enjoy your family!

I did my self-assigned homework and double-checked Yale regulations for coursework completion for each of your respective college/school, which was only mildly informative, and not very useful:

Department of Music (from Graduate Handbook): “All work is normally due by the end of the semester, although some instructors may extend due dates into January…” Technically, the end of the semester is the last day of Final Examinations (Tuesday, December 17). Grades are due on January 3, so I’m willing to accept work until Monday, December 23, unless there are serious extenuating circumstances.

Yale College: Technically, all coursework must be submitted by the end of Reading Period (Wednesday, December 11); however, given that the course is listed as a graduate course, and that it meets during Reading Period (at which time both of you will be giving final presentations), I think that it makes most sense for the work to be due at the same time as it is due for graduate students (Tuesday, December 17).

School of Music: All coursework must be completed by Friday, December 20.

Here is a shortlist of what’s left for the end of the semester:

1. Individual Projects: (For more specific details, refer to the “Individual Projects” front page.)

Draft: Hand this in as soon as possible; ideally I would like to meet with each of you individually to go over the draft and before the final is due. Drafts are due at the latest on the day of your final presentation (12/5 or 12/12). If you are planning to submit a conference proposal based on your final project, you should include an abstract (most conferences require a 350-500 words proposal, although some ask for up to 3 pages of text plus figures).

Final: Specific expectations for the contents of the final project will be determined based on the special nature of each project and the draft. All final projects are due as detailed above.

2. Group Projects: (For more specific details, refer to the “Group Projects” front page.)

Data analysis & preliminary findings: Data collection is just about to begin, and we will collect data for about 10 days. If you would like to have a preliminary set of data sent to you, email Shashank ( with your request; make sure to copy all your group members and myself to your request. This will be helpful to get oriented, experiment with formatting and analysis, and to divide the data analysis tasks between group members. Right now, I am thinking that we will officially close the data collection for the two group pilots on Thursday, December 5, but I am open to suggestions.

Report: Unless you have a schedule conflict because of class meetings during Reading Period, all group members are expected to participate in presenting their pilot study (including the preliminary findings) in Prof. Quinn’s Music Cognition class on Monday, December 9, 2:30-3:45pm. If you are not able to be physically present, you will still be expected to contribute to the contents of the presentation (i.e., prepare one or more slides).

Structured Abstract: To be completed by all group members (see details on “Group Projects” front page); must be completed by Tuesday, December 17. The structured abstract can serve as the basis for a conference proposal; if you are interested to pursue this option, please let me know as soon as possible.

Music theory in the land of experimental psychology

The two readings I have assigned come from two different perspectives within the field of music cognition, the psychologist’s perspective (represented by Janata and colleagues) and the music theorist’s (represented by Martens). I consider both to be good examples of how experimental methods can enhance the study and theorizing of music.

At the same time, doing research at the boundary of two fields is not an easy task, and music cognition still faces many challenges, not the least of which is to find ways of bridging the methodological and conceptual gap between the different disciplines involved (psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience on one hand, and musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology on the other) while cultivating questions that are sophisticated and relevant to all involved.

In reviewing these studies, focus first on the question that is identified by the researchers and how this question is operationalized into a testable hypothesis (i.e., how each element of the question is mapped onto some observable and measurable feature related to the phenomenon that is being investigated). Is the operationalization reasonable? What are the findings? How do the authors relate the findings back to the original question? What are some of the limitations of the experimental study that are identified by the authors?

Then, reflect on the question, findings, and limitations of the study from the perspective of your home discipline. Is the question relevant to your research? How might you use its findings? How might these two studies benefit from knowledge and know-how from your field of study? Conversely, how might your research (and your home discipline) benefit from the methods exemplified by these studies?

You might summarize one of the two studies, compare the two studies, or respond to one or more of the guiding questions. You might also imagine how you might collaborate with one of these researchers for a follow-up study. What would your study look like? What might be discussed in a “lab” meeting with the authors? Finally, you might also use your experience as a participant in the online experiments from my course to illustrate your points.

Post a response to the readings on the Forum blog by Sunday, November 24, 11:59 PM; post a response to one or more of your colleagues’ posts soon thereafter.

Assignment for November 26 Meeting

I have prepared a few different things for us to look at on Tuesday, November 26. My goal for this session if to give you a general idea of what it means to do empirical music research, especially of the “experimental” type. I also want you to experience it a bit first-hand, which is why part of the assignment will involve participating in online experimental studies.

1. Preparatory reading: Before doing the core reading for your group discussions, it will be useful to read the following two pieces:

– David Huron (1999), The New Empiricism: Systematic Musicology in a Postmodern Age from the Ernest Bloch Lectures. Read PART 2 only (there are a lot of problems with PART 1, and it is not really that relevant to what we will be discussing). You might also want to start with the list summary at the end of the lecture. We had an online Forum discussion of this article at the beginning of this semester; you can read my introduction to this article and the students responses, and even add your own point of view to the discussion, if you want (search “Bridging the gap” on this site).

– Read the following two short introductions to doing/reading empirical research (from Huron’s Empirical Methods course): “Types of Empirical Studies” and “Reading Empirical Research.” (Make sure you have access to the first document for our meeting.)

2. Core reading: Review the following two experimental studies; don’t get bogged down by technical details, but rather focus on the main question and findings. Post a response to the readings on the Forum blog by Sunday, November 24, 11:59 PM (NOTE: The day/time and response manner are different than your usual schedule). I have included a few guiding questions in my post (“Music theory in the land of experimental psychology”). Each student should post a new thread; respond to your group members’ threads as soon as possible after the initial deadline, but not later than Tuesday morning.

– Petr Janata, Stefan T. Tomic, and Jason M. Haberman (2012), Sensorimotor Coupling in Music and the Psychology of the Groove, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141/1: 54-75.

– Peter Martens (2011), The Ambiguous Tactus: Tempo, Subdivision Benefit, and Three Listener Strategies, Music Perception, 28/5: 433-448.

3. Online experiments: There are three experiments that will be open on the MARL platform. (NOTE: The link will become active when the experiments are ready to run.) Each experiment takes about 20 minutes to complete. You may complete each experiment separately or complete them in one sitting; if you do them separately, you will need to fill the questionnaire before each experiment (but it should not take longer than 5 minutes to do it).

4. Optional reading: During the class meeting, I will present some on the work I did with Bruno Repp at the Haskins Laboratories. You may want to read the abstract and look at the figures ahead of time, but this is not necessary.

– Ève Poudrier & Bruno H. Repp (2013), Can Musicians Track Two Different Beats Simultaneously?, Music Perception, 30/4: 369-390.



Week 10 Assignment

Continuation of two items:

1. Individual projects: Due to the delays in setting up the group projects on the online platform, we now have an extra class meeting to use for the class presentations of preliminary findings. Review the instructions are posted on the Individual Projects front page. You might also want to review the handout on “Writing an Empirical Paper” (prepared by David Huron); the format it describes can be adapted to your specific project.

Presentation schedule:

November 14: Peter, Stephen, Stefanie

November 21: Greta, Chris, Andrew, Julia

2. Group projects: I have heard from Shashank that the updates are almost completely finished and that there is only one wrinkle left to sort out, but that this will not be done until this coming Thursday. I have asked her to upload your sound files on the platform so that you can do a final test run as soon as possible. Make sure to re-test your experiment promptly once it is up. In preparation for the next step (statistical analysis), you may want to attend the Data Visualization workshop at the Statistics Lab. Remember that for this project, only descriptive statistics are required; however, if a member of your group has experience with statistical methods, you may endeavor to use inferential statistics (see Step 5 on the Group Projects front page, which includes references to supplementary materials on classes*v2).

Call for papers: 1st International Students’ Scientific Conference “The Sound Ambiguity”

The Research Association of Composition and Music Theory Students at the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław, Poland, has the pleasure of inviting every interested student to the 1st International Students’ Scientific Conference The Sound Ambiguity,
which will take place on April 24th-25th, 2014. cfp-ambiguity-wroclaw

Although we have already successfully organised students’ nationwide conferences on music before, it was not until this year that we decided to turn our undertaking into an international project.

We would be delighted if any of your students would like to deliver a conference paper. We are deeply convinced that it would be a valuable experience and a great opportunity to interchange ideas and approaches with students from many research centres.

Moreover, it would be an excellent chance for all the participants to visit Wrocław, which is the largest city in western Poland, conveniently located next to the German and Czech border, with a brand new airport providing many flight connections. Being a vibrant city with an exceptionally complex history, Wrocław was selected along with San Sebastian-Donostia (Spain) to hold the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2016.

For more details please see the attached file. We would be grateful if you passed this message on to potential participants.

For further information visit our website:

if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at


I’m looking forward to my visit to this semester’s offering of “Current Trends in Music Theory” at the Graduate Center of CUNY on November 26. I have fond memories of the place, the people, and this course!

I invite you to explore this website, which I created to foster an environment of collaborative discovery for the participants of “Cognition of Musical Rhythm” at Yale. You might want to browse through past student project drafts, check-up the resources available for those interested in empirical musical research, read some of the Forum discussions, and/or comment on current students’ projects (proposals are available under the “Individual Projects” tab).

I will be posting your assignment for the November 26 meeting here, as well as all the necessary materials. Stay tuned!