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AMPS: Past Seminar Series

Past Seminar Series

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2003 Seminar Series

Tuning and Temperament
Speaker : Hugo Fastl Munich University
Date :11th Apr


1) With a synthesizer we studied the preference of Werckmeister II well tempered tunig versus standard equal temperament. Of course, musically trained subjects easily can detect and quanitfy the differences. However, with respect to preference, in pilot studies, we find different groups of subjects, somewhat related to the instrument they play.

2) With a Welte-Steinway grand piano we study the preference of tuning to 432 Hz vs 440 Hz. Both semantic differential and a method which we use for sound quality studies inside cars called "random access" were used. As expected, we find interactions between the preferred tuning and the style of music played.

Planning Motor Actions in Music Performance
Speaker : Peter Keller Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Mu
Date :15th Aug


A compelling link exists between music performance and a comprehensive psychological principle known as the ideomotor theory: Conventional wisdom amongst musicians holds that superior performance quality is achieved by actively imagining the desired sound rather than merely aiming to make the appropriate motor actions on one's instrument, and ideomotor theory states that actions arise automatically through the anticipation of their sensory effects. I will present research that, although not directly concerned with the quality of musical performances, makes a foray into the general area by testing the hypothesis that actions are facilitated by the anticipation of their effects in the context of tone sequence production. The experimental task required participants to respond as quickly as possible to each of four colour-patch stimuli by producing a unique sequence of three taps on three vertically-aligned response plates. Each tap on a different plate triggered a tone of distinct pitch. To investigate the role of effect (tone sequence) anticipation on action (tap sequence) production, action-effect compatibility was manipulated by varying the plate-to-tone mapping. In a compatible condition, taps on the top, middle, and bottom plate triggered tones of high, medium, and low pitch, respectively. This plate-to-tone mapping was scrambled differently in two incompatible conditions. Dependent measures were accuracy and response time; the latter having several components including latency (time taken to lift the tapping finger from a home key following stimulus onset) and movement time (time taken to complete the tap sequence). Results indicate that sequence production was interfered with by incompatible, relative to compatible, mappings. This effect was observed only in latencies, which were longest for incompatible mappings, suggesting that action planning was affected more so than actual action execution. Further experiments that delve deeper into this effect will also be reported. The implications of this line of research are broad, covering musical interface design, the concept of pitch height, and the role of auditory imagery in music performance.

Serenade for tuned sopranos, trombone, didjeridu and rotating strings (bells and whistles ad lib.)
Speaker : Joe Wolfe UNSW
Date :14th Nov

Analysis of Expressive Music Performance
Speaker : Simon Dixon Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intellige
Date :12th Dec


Musical performance, in the Western Classical and Romantic tradition, is the art of bringing a musical score to life by simultaneously communicating both emotions and aspects of the musical structure. This communication occurs via the choice and variation of parameters such as tempo, timing, dynamics and articulation. Recent research in audio analysis has allowed automatic extraction of some of these expressive parameters. We present our work on tempo induction and beat tracking, and show how it has been used in studies of musical expression, including performer recognition and machine rendering of expressive performance.