Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Zonder luisteraar geen muziek" [Part 3]

Today our team finalized an elaborate communication plan to promote music cognition research to a larger audience. It is part of the demands for university research teams that are nominated for the Dutch Academische Jaarprijs (an initiative of NRC Handelsblad in cooperation with NWO, KNAW and Shell; see earlier blog-entries with the same tag).

We will have to defend our plan on June 11th in the Leidse Schouwburg (photo above), when also the winner of the Battle of the Universities 07/08 will be announced. We can't say too much about our plans (it's supposed to be a 'battle' :-) but see below some snippets of the opening and ending of an interactive dvd that accompanies our ambitious plans. We hope the jury will like it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lure(d) into listening?

This weekend there was a Matchmaking meeting event in Paris, organized by HERA —an EU 6th Framework Programme ERA-NET project aiming at strengthening the European voice in the Humanities—, on Cultural Dynamics and the Creative Industry.

The idea our group brought forward was Listen, Lure & Locate: A Project on Music, Internet and Listening Cultures that proposes to investigate older and newer internet technologies that support sharing musical taste and exchange of musical listening experiences.

The proposal (in preparation) aims not only to analyze and explicate these existing listening communities (e.g. Last.fm, YouTube, Pandora) but also to actively experiment with Web 2.0 technologies by designing and constructing virtual listening spaces that will allow participants to share their listening experiences (LISTEN), make other listeners enthusiastic for a certain musical fragment (LURE), and mark a specific location in an actual recording (LOCATE) - a specific point in the music where a particular listener experienced something special or that s/he considers musically striking or intriguing.

The LOCATE-component of the project was inspired by some early work of John Sloboda (Keele University). He found that a large portion of music listeners could locate (in the score or a recording) specific musical passages that reliably evoked, e.g., shivers down the spine, laughter, tears or a lump in the throat (Sloboda, 1991).

At the meeting I asked several people the question mentioned below. Take part in an online poll?

ResearchBlogging.orgSloboda, J.A. (1991). Music Structure and Emotional Response: Some Empirical Findings. Psychology of Music, 19(2), 110-120. DOI: 10.1177/0305735691192002

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Muziek speelt met de luisteraar [Dutch]

This week a video that was directed by Bob van Gijzel (AVC/UvA) as part of a series of short films with the title De Fascinatie: Scholars and scientists from the Universiteit van Amsterdam talk about their fascination in research. This one is on music cognition. Below a short fragment (in Dutch):

Click here for the full episode.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Can newborns make sense of rhythm? (Part 2)

In search of the origins of music perception, our European research consortium (named EmCAP) investigates questions such as whether or not newborns possess the ability to process music. However, while we all intuitively feel that babies like rhythms and melodies, we don’t know how they perceive music. This week the MTAPI team started a first series of experiments to test whether rhythm and meter perception is active in newborn infants.

Our hypothesis is that a rhythmic stimulus (we use a simple drum pattern), when occasionally modified in two distinct metrical positions (a temporal oddball), should be perceived more easily as a deviation if the modification happens in a metrically strong position as compared to one in a weaker metrical position, as such indicating that a metrical expectation is active. These so-called oddballs are expected to elicit the mismatch negativity (MMN) event related brain potential (ERP), a well-known response that is elicited by violations of a detected acoustic regularity.

One of the reasons this particular method was chosen was that it allows us to use the same technique and the same rhythmic stimuli for both adult non-musicians and newborn infants. The preliminary results confirm the hypothesis for adults. Needless to say we are more than curious for what the newborn study will show us. We hope to present the first results at the upcoming Neurosciences and Music conference in Montreal this summer.

Honing, H., Ladinig, O., Winkler, I., Haden, G. (in press) Probing emergent meter perception in adults (and newborns) using event-related brain potentials: a pilot study. Proceedings of the Neurosciences and music III Conference. Montreal: McGill University.