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Workshop on Listening Through Time

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This workshop is cosponsored by the Society for Music Theory and CIRMMT Research Axis 5. It will involve a real-time music listening experiment with live music followed by a presentation of results from pilot experiments using the new CIRMMT audience response system and a panel discussion of SMT members. It will take place in Tanna Schulich Hall, McGill University. Registration is required. Participants in the experiment will receive $10 in compensation.

  • Research Workshop
When Oct 31, 2009
from 07:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Where Tanna Schulich Hall, 527 Sherbrooke St. West
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This session, sponsored by the SMT Music Cognition Group, brings together a panel of music theorists and psychologists to discuss the temporal dynamics of listening.  It is an official event of the Society for Music Theory annual meeting in Montreal, October 29 -November 1, 2009.

The session will begin with a real-time music listening experiment in a live concert setting, where we will record two groups of audience members’ emotional responses to the performed pieces, some using an interactive 2D iPod interface, some using biosensors developed by Thought Technology to measure skin conductance, heart rate, respiration rate, and movement of facial muscles.

The second part of the session will be devoted to a presentation of the main issues in measuring listening dynamics and of data from previous experiments with the system on recordings of the concert pieces. Then an expert panel will address the temporal dynamics of listening from music psychological as well as music-theoretical perspectives and specifics about the relationship between musical materials and form in the performed pieces and the recorded measurements.


  • 6:45-8:00pm  Installation and hookup of people wearing biosensors
  • 7:30-8:00pm  Installation of people using the iPod interface
  • 8:00-8:30pm  Live concert (with the participation of The Orpheus Singers of Montreal, the Cecilia String Quartet, and D. Andrew Stewart).  The doors will open at 7:45pm for audience members not participating in the experiment
  • 8:30-8:45pm  Removal of biosensors and return of iPods
  • 8:45-9:05pm  Presentation: Issues and methods in listening dynamics, Stephen McAdams, McGill University
  • 9:05-10:30pm  Panel discussion (Moderated by Johanna Devaney and Michel Vallières, McGill University, with the participation of Richard Ashley, Northwestern University, Steven Larson, University of Oregon, Judith Lochhead, SUNY Stony Brook, Stephen McAdams, McGill University, Jonathan Wild, McGill University)


We are no longer accepting registrations for the experiment.  However, if you are still interested in participating, please come by Tanna Hall at 7:30pm.  If registered participants have cancelled you will be able to take part in the experiment.  There are also still plenty of seats available for people who would like to attend the concert and workshop but not take part in the experiment.


Tanna Schulich Hall, Schulich School of Music

McGill University

527, Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal, QC


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