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Music perception and cognition student colloquium series 2012/2013 - second meeting

  • Music Perception and Cognition Student Colloquium
When Jan 24, 2013
from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM
Where A832, New Music Building, 527 Sherbrooke St. West.
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Second colloquium meeting of the 2012/2013 academic year

Presentations by Jason Noble and R. Michael Winters

Jason Noble, Schulich School of Music, McGill University

TITLE: Perspective and synthesis in sound mass perception


Sound mass refers to music in which the individual identities of instruments, voices, or other sound-objects become difficult or impossible to discern, shifting attention to the musical totality.  Composers whose works have come to be associated with sound mass, notably Ligeti, Xenakis, and Penderecki, have extensively described their aesthetic aims, likening the effect to large crowds, supersaturated solutions, complex geometric formations, and various other naturalistic and industrial metaphors.  Much literature has documented the various techniques employed by these composers, but surprisingly little has evaluated the extent to which listeners perceive sound mass compositions in the way the composers describe. 

We are interested in discovering which musical parameters affect the shift of intentionality from the local to the global that corresponds with sound mass perception, and in determining the thresholds of complexity, density, and/or homogeneity beyond which such a shift is likely to occur.  We believe this knowledge would not only contribute to an understanding of the psychological response to this repertoire, but would also have broad analytical and compositional implications.  A pilot experiment revealed consistency among listeners in self-reported sound mass perception and the musical parameters they identified as factors in selections from the sound mass repertoire.  The next stage will involve an experiment focusing on three parameters that emerged as significant in this preliminary research: sharpness of attack, speed (attacks per second), and register. 

R. Michael Winters, Schulich School of Music, McGill University

TITLE: Sonification, emotion, and music: Strategies for continuous auditory display of affect


Sonification is an interdisciplinary field of research broadly interested in the use of sound to convey information. A fundamental attribute of sound is its ability to evoke emotion, but for sonification, there has yet to be a dedicated study into how it can be used to communicate continuous emotional changes in realtime.

In this presentation, I will first address the manifold ways in which sound is capable of generating an affective response or communicating emotion. This includes psychoacoustic cues, psychological cues, spatial cues, and various multimodal interactions.  I will also discuss some of the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that have been proposed for emotional communication in music, and recent work on identifying specific structural and acoustic cues and their appropriate ranges.

In the second part of my talk, I will discuss the applications of these results, including sound design, human-machine interfaces, product sound quality, architectural design, virtual reality and music.  A new application is proposed: the realtime auditory display of arousal and valence for emotional communication in affective computing.  A formalized sonification system and GUI written in Supercollider is presented that synthesizes results from the first section. 


We hope to see you there!

Meghan Goodchild

Kai Siedenburg



Music Perception and Cognition Student Colloquium

Second meeting of the 2012-2013 year

All contributions related to music perception and cognition are welcome, including work in progress, papers presented at recent conferences and those to be presented at forthcoming conferences.


Abstracts (less than 300 words) can be submitted until Thursday, January 17.
 Please indicate all contributors and institutional affiliations.

Presentations should not exceed 30 minutes.

A projector, VGA cables, 1/4" audio jacks and Apple VGA adapters will be available. Please specify all your technical requirements (any of the above, and/or others). 


All abstracts should be sent to:

Meghan Goodchild

Kai Siedenburg


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