Coming Up

Two events for us coming up next week:

Monday, December 9, 2:30-3:45pm, Stoeckel 106: Final presentations of group projects in Prof. Quinn’s Music Cognition class. Plan for no more than 20 minutes + 10 minutes for questions. Please arrive at least 5-10 minutes early so we can make sure the A/V is all set (at least three students need to leave a little early, so we need to be time efficient).

Thursday, December 12, 9:25-11:15am, Stoeckel 313: Second installment of final presentations for individual projects. There are four students presenting on that day, so we need to start on time (which means that at least one of the presenters should come in early to set up). I will bring some goodies and juice, so come with an appetite for sweets! Remember that this the last day for handing-in drafts.

Structured abstracts for the group projects should be completed no later than Tuesday, December 17. Make sure to post your first draft of the sections you are responsible for well ahead of this deadline so that your group members can read through and provide suggestions, if necessary. You should have everything you need to complete this project (including guidelines & etiquette) on the group site, but let me know if you have any questions.

Final drafts of individual projects are due as detailed on the previous assignments posting.

Online Study on Atonal Music (1946-65)

I am a PhD student in music theory at McGill University, and I am currently conducting a survey (experimental study) about atonal music from 1946-65. The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete and requires no knowledge of music whatsoever. I would be very grateful if you could complete it.
Sent by Cecilia Taher <>

New Issue: Music Performance Research

Volume 6 of the international, peer-reviewed online journal Music Performance Research is now available at It includes six articles illustrating the wide range of approaches taken by researchers with backgrounds in very different disciplines to the study of music performance, and a report on the CMPCP/ Performance Studies Network conference held at Cambridge University in April 2013.

‘The improvisatory approach to classical music performance: An empirical investigation into its characteristics and impact’ represents a ground-breaking collaboration between a performer / teacher (David Dolan), performer / researcher (Eugene Feygelson), music psychologist (John Sloboda), mathematical physicist (Henrik Jeldtoft Jensen) and neuroscientist (Björn Crüts). Roger Dean, Kirk Olsen and Freya Bailes ask ‘Is there a “rise-fall temporal archetype” in the music of Joseph Haydn?’ with references to recordings and scores; Amanda Glauert considers the ways in which the philosophical ideas of Herder can be implemented by musicians in ‘“Do you know the land?” Unfolding the secrets of the lyric in performance’. In ‘The reconstitution of historical piano recordings: Vladimir de Pachmann plays Chopin’s Nocturne in E Minor’ Nigel Nettheim makes gramophone and piano roll recordings accessible to the general listener and music performance student alike; Martin Blain discusses ‘Composition-as-research: Connecting Flights II for Clarinet Quartet – a research methodology for composers’ in the light of practice-as-research methods more commonly utilised by performers. Finally, Biranda Ford describes a project involving students from different disciplines: ‘Approaches to performance: A comparison of music and acting students’ concepts of preparation, audience and performance’.

Call for Papers – Music Perception & Cognition Joint Conference (ICMPC/APSCOM)

13th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC)
5th Conference of Asia-Pacific Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
August 4-8, 2014, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

Deadline for abstract submission: January 15, 2014

The Joint Conference ICMPC-APSCOM is an interdisciplinary conference
devoted to the dissemination of new unpublished research relating to the field of
music perception and cognition. The conference will bring together leading researchers from different areas of the cognitive sciences of music. Papers are welcome from a broad
range of disciplines, such as psychology, cognitive science, psychophysics,
philosophy, aesthetics, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, psychoacoustics,
linguistics, performance studies, music theory and composition, anthropology, music
therapy and medicine, education and other related fields of inquiry.

Submissions are invited for: spoken papers, poster presentations, symposia,
and workshops. Authors are kindly requested to submit their abstract by filling
in the appropriate online form to be available at:

The conference language is English and spoken papers, posters, conference

and publications will be in English. All submissions will be reviewed
anonymously by the members of the Scientific Advisory Board (the membership of which will be announced in due course). Abstracts will be published in the conference

Suggested topic areas include:
Music theory
Acoustics and psychoacoustics
Musical timbre
Pitch, absolute pitch, and melody
Harmony and tonality
Rhythm, meter, and timing
Aesthetic perception and response
Music and movement
Music and emotions
Cognitive modeling of music
Music and neuroscience
Composition and improvisation
Cross-cultural studies of music
Memory, attention, imagery, and expectation
Music performance
Musical development and education
Music therapy
Music, health, and well-being
Musical communication
Music and evolution
Social psychology of music
Music, language, and meaning
Popular music

Conference chair:
Moo Kyoung Song (Yonsei University, Korea)

Program committee:
Robert Gjerdingen (Northwestern University, USA)
Petr Janata (University of California, Davis, USA)
Youn Kim (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Reinhard Kopiez (Hannover Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien,
Ian Quinn (Yale University, USA)
John Rink (University of Cambridge, UK)
Catherine Stevens (University of Western Sydney, Australia)
Barbara Tillmann (Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France)
Suk Won Yi (Seoul National University, Korea), Coordinator

Keynote speakers:
Eric Clarke (University of Oxford, UK)
David Huron (Ohio State University, USA)
Sukjae Lee (Seoul National University, Korea)

Important dates:
January 15, 2014 – Abstract submission due
March 24, 2014 – Notification of acceptance
May 1, 2014 – Early registration ends
May 19, 2014 – Full paper/ Final version of abstract due

Details for submissions can be accessed at the conference website:

Pulse vs. meter

Front Syst Neurosci 2013 Oct 31;7:68
Rhythmic cognition in humans and animals: distinguishing meter and pulse perception

Fitch WT
Department of Cognitive Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

This paper outlines a cognitive and comparative perspective on human rhythmic cognition that emphasizes a key distinction between pulse perception and meter perception. Pulse perception involves the extraction of a regular pulse or “tactus” from a stream of events. Meter perception involves grouping of events into hierarchical trees with differing levels of “strength”, or perceptual prominence. I argue that metrically-structured rhythms are required to either perform or move appropriately to music (e.g., to dance). Rhythms, from this metrical perspective, constitute “trees in time.” Rhythmic syntax represents a neglected form of musical syntax, and warrants more thorough neuroscientific investigation. The recent literature on animal entrainment clearly demonstrates the capacity to extract the pulse from rhythmic music, and to entrain periodic movements to this pulse, in several parrot species and a California sea lion, and a more limited ability to do so in one chimpanzee. However, the ability of these or other species to infer hierarchical rhythmic trees remains, for the most part, unexplored (with some apparent negative results from macaques). The results from this animal comparative research, combined with new methods to explore rhythmic cognition neurally, provide exciting new routes for understanding not just rhythmic cognition, but hierarchical cognition more generally, from a biological and neural perspective.

Music & migration

Proc Biol Sci 2013 Nov 13
Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language

Brown S, Savage PE, Ko AM, Stoneking M, Ko YC, Loo JH, Trejaut JA
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University,1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 4K1; Department of Musicology, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, Japan; Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany; Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China; Mackay Memorial Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan, Republic of China

We present, to our knowledge, the first quantitative evidence that music and genes may have coevolved by demonstrating significant correlations between traditional group-level folk songs and mitochondrial DNA variation among nine indigenous populations of Taiwan. These correlations were of comparable magnitude to those between language and genes for the same populations, although music and language were not significantly correlated with one another. An examination of population structure for genetics showed stronger parallels to music than to language. Overall, the results suggest that music might have a sufficient time-depth to retrace ancient population movements and, additionally, that it might be capturing different aspects of population history than language. Music may therefore have the potential to serve as a novel marker of human migrations to complement genes, language and other markers.