Perception et Psychologie
Perception & Psychology

Perceiving instrument register and playing effort through timbral cues

Erica Huynh, Jade Roth
CIRMMT, McGill University

The opening of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring features a solo bassoon in its upper register. Had Stravinsky chosen the oboe for this solo, the melody would not have the same timbral quality since it would fall in the middle of the instrument’s range, requiring less effort from the musician. Wallmark (2013) argues that we can accurately identify the magnitude of effort behind human-produced sounds, which suggests that there may be unique identifiers within timbre that communicate effort. We will use single tones and dyads played by musical instruments across various instrument families at each instrument’s low, middle, and high registers. Dyads will be created by layering recorded tones from the University of Iowa’s Musical Instruments Samples. In two experiments, participants will identify where in an instrument’s tessitura single tones (Experiment 1) or consonant and dissonant dyads (Experiment 2) were played. We predict that participants will be able to detect the correct register using the perceived playing effort implied by the timbre for single tones and consonant dyads. Registral identification of the dissonant sounds, however, might be estimated as requiring more playing effort than consonant sounds due to their roughness, which may also communicate greater playing effort.

5m 18s

CoCoBrainChannel: An entropic-bidirectional BCI to foster creative auditory exploration of mental states.

Antoine Bellemare
BRAMS, Concordia University

With the recent advances in EEG technology and the popularization of low-cost mobile EEG devices, brain-computer interface (BCI) systems and neurofeedback tools have become more accessible. CoCo Brain Channel (CCBC) is a BCI software designed to use real-time processing of EEG signals to generate auditory soundscapes, providing the user with a means to hear and interact with his own brain activity. The objective of this project is to develop an artistic-BCI that uses a combination of passive, active and bidirectional feedback to stimulate aesthetic experience in the user. To achieve this, the proposed apparatus (1) generates ambiguous musical content (passive BCI) and (2) stimulates exploratory behaviour (active BCI) through (3) systematic variations of feedback complexity in realtime (entropic-bidirectional BCI). Furthermore, by deriving harmonic structures based on electrophysiological time series, this project bridges classical characterizations of biosignals with new approaches in microtonality and adaptive tunings. As a result, the CCBC is an artistic-BCI system that intends to promote creative perception through exploration of emergent aesthetic auditory soundscapes. In doing so, it emphasizes the subjectivity of aesthetic experience and explores the potential use of bio-feedback loops to generate emergent musical content.

5m 3s

Directing attention in contemporary composition with timbre

Max Henry
CIRMMT, McGill University

Music listening typically requires effort on the part of the listener to integrate or segregate concurrent sounds (or “streams”). In contemporary music listening, the auditor necessarily attends to one stream over the others at any given time. Our goal is to investigate to what extent timbre plays a role in this variety of musical attention and stream segregation. We hypothesize that when focusing on a certain timbre, one is concurrently more sensitive to similar timbres, and, more importantly, less sensitive to dissimilar timbres. The experiment centres around a series of recordings of short (1 - 2 bar) duets composed by Jonas Regnier. The recordings are synthetically rendered using matched and unmatched instrument pairs. Our pilot study (N = 13) suggests that streamers systematically neglect the unattended stream as a function of timbre-dissimilarity, i.e., when two instruments are sufficiently different in timbre, subjects are more likely to stay focused on a target stream. This suggests that auditory attention may be mediated by timbre.

4m 30s
Anne-Marie Bissonnette
BRAMS, Université de Montréal (UdeM)

Les mélodies vocales sans parole sont mieux mémorisées que les mélodies instrumentales, mais les causes de cet avantage demeurent inconnues. Nous émettons l’hypothèse que les mélodies vocales pourraient susciter des imitations subvocales qui renforcent les représentations motrices d’une mélodie. Si c’est le cas, occuper le système articulatoire durant l’encodage devrait réduire l’avantage mnésique pour les mélodies chantées par rapport à celles jouées au piano. Dans trois expériences, les participants ont exécuté différents mouvements, par exemple, en chuchotant des « la » de façon continue pendant l’écoute de nouvelles mélodies. Ensuite, les participants devaient reconnaître les mélodies. Dans chaque expérience, les mélodies chantées ont été mieux reconnues que les mélodies instrumentales. La synchronisation des chuchotements ou de la respiration à la pulsation de la mélodie pourrait expliquer l’avantage vocal.

4m 56s

Effect of simultaneous neurostimulation and music on mood : evidence from EEG and psychophysiological signals

Samaneh Roghani-zanjani
BRAMS, Université de Montréal (UdeM)

Pleasure, motivation, and mood are linked in humans to the activity of the reward system, which involves at the brain level the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and its dopaminergic projections. When neurostimulation such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is targeted to the DLPFC, it was demonstrated that it can effectively modulate mood and the activity of the reward system (Strafella et al. 2001). A recent study found that TMS over the left DLPFC modulates measures of pleasure and motivation during music listening (Mas-Herrero, Dagher, Zatorre 2018), which is of particular interest since music itself was also shown to have a significant impact on mood. While music and TMS separately have shown their ability to modulate mood, we hypothesize that using both techniques at the same time would potentiate their effects on mood. This hypothesis is based on the impact of TMS on cortical excitability which could potentially strengthen the effect of music on the mood. To test this hypothesis, healthy subjects will participate in four experimental sessions: 1) TMS only, 2) music only, 3)sham, 4) TMS + music while we record brain activity with EEG, physiological activity through skin conductance responses (SCRs), and use a mood questionnaire to determine mood modulations.

6m 44s

Mettre en évidence la variabilité individuelle dans une tâche de synchronisation sensori-motrice

Agnes Zagala
BRAMS, Université de Montréal (UdeM)

Des études récentes sur la synchronisation auditivo-motrice utilisant des tâches de marche suggèrent que les individus peuvent varier dans leur réponse aux stimuli auditifs rythmiques. Certaines personnes («répondeurs») ont tendance à adapter leur rythme de marche au rythme du stimulus tandis que d'autres («non-répondeurs») montrent peu ou pas d'ajustement au rythme. Cependant, l'observation initiale nécessite une confirmation. Malheureusement, à ce jour, il n’existe pas de méthode appropriée qui soit très sensible aux différences individuelles d’adaptation aux stimuli rythmiques lors de la marche. Pour combler cette lacune, nous proposons une nouvelle méthode, utilisant un appareil Arduino portable pour mesurer les différences individuelles dans l'adaptation de la marche. La méthode permet la synchronisation en temps réel d’un stimulus auditif avec la cadence de marche préférée du participant (capturée à l’aide de résistances sensibles à la force - FSR). Après plusieurs étapes, la sortie audio démarre en synchronisation avec les pas et le tempo du stimulus s'écarte progressivement de la cadence de marche préférée du marcheur, testant ainsi, si le participant s'adapte ou non au changement. La méthode vise à discerner les répondeurs des non-répondeurs et à ouvrir la voie à des études sur les mécanismes à l'origine des différences individuelles dans la synchronisation de la marche, qui restent assez inconnues.

5m 9s

Musical stimulus selection for a rhythmic tapping video game for children: An online study

Kevin Jamey
BRAMS, Université de Montréal (UdeM)

There is a growing interest in using rhythm-based music training programs to strengthen non-musical skills. This project was an online study evaluating rhythmic tapping performance and music appreciation of 58 musical excerpts to be considered for use in a rhythm-based video game. The main objective was to select a set of 32 songs that have a motivating range of rhythmic complexity and difficulty in terms of rhythmic synchronization. A secondary objective was to investigate the effects of age on rhythmic performance and the relationships between music appreciation, perceived difficulty, level of syncopation and tempo. Children aged 7-14 tapped on a keyboard to the beat of each excerpt, and tap timing consistency was evaluated. Children also provided subjective ratings of appreciation and tapping difficulty. The study took place using the BRAMS Online Testing Platform (BRAMS-OTP). Preliminary findings with 50 participants show that three musical excerpts were clearly not appropriate and rated low on rhythmic consistency and music appreciation. Appreciation was sufficiently independent from perceived and measured difficulty to allow selecting well-liked music across a range of difficulty. The results will help optimize the selection of music for a rhythm-based video game to be used in a training study in children.

7m 19s

Corrélats neuronaux du rythme

Eric Cristea
BRAMS, Université de Montréal (UdeM)

L’illusion de l’horloge, aussi connu sous le nom d’effet Tic Toc, est un phénomène d’accentuation binaire subjective (fort-faible) d’une série d’événements sonores identiques. Celle-ci suggère que les individus se forment des attentes quant aux événements sonores qu’ils écoutent. Ainsi, l’accentuation serait une conséquence de l’interprétation métrique descendante (top-down) de la pulsation (Iversen et al., 2009). La présente étude a pour objectif d’investiguer l’accentuation subjective sur les corrélats électroencéphalographiques (EEG) associés à la violation des attentes. L’activité EEG de participants non-musiciens sans troubles du rythme sera enregistrée lorsqu’ils complèteront un paradigme de type oddball, où ils devront détecter un déviant temporel au sein de séquences isochrones de sons physiquement identiques (440 Hz, 70 dB SPL). À titre de tâche implicite, un son déviant de plus faible intensité sera introduit dans certaines séquences. Nous prédisons que les participants détecteront avec plus de sensibilité les déviants présentés sur un temps fort, avec une plus ample réponse évoquée comparativement aux temps faibles.

5m 56s

Liking & complexity in music: How expectations shape enjoyment

Alexander Albury
CIRMMT, Concordia University

Musical expectation has been identified as a driving force behind music enjoyment. Passive exposure to music leads us to develop internal models of musical structure which are employed when listening to music. Using this implicit knowledge of music, we generate predictions for upcoming musical events, and the balance between confirmation and violation of these predictions influences our affective response to music. Our predictions are based on underlying statistical probabilities in music which can be interpreted as an index of complexity. Previous research has found an inverted U-shaped relationship between complexity and liking in music, such that moderately complex music is preferred over highly complex or overly simple music. The presented research tests this relationship on a set of novel melodies that vary in complexity, measured using an information theoretic model of music which generates probabilities of events in a sequence. Participants listened to these melodies and rated each on perceived liking and predictability. Results showed a negative linear relationship between participant predictability ratings and complexity. We also replicated the inverted U-shaped relationship between complexity and liking, with melodies of intermediate complexity being most liked. The effects of musicianship and sensitivity to music reward on this liking-complexity relationship are also discussed.

5m 49s

Organizing Committee
Charlotte Bigras, Margot Charignon,
Maria Carolina Rodriguez Escobar & Eduardo Meneses
Charles Campeau-Bedford