01 September 2007

Music in the lab

Music Matters is a blog by Henkjan Honing about music cognition. It looks at music from a scientific point of view, something that instinctively sounds off-putting to me, but this is so interesting, so full of variety, that I couldn't resist reading on. Also, this guy is clearly a music enthusiast, not just a clinical analyst, and his writing is accessible. (I found it via the excellent Cognitive Daily.)

Some recent posts:

Why do people sing so shamelessly out of tune?

When somebody sings out of tune, we might infer that he or she has no talent for music. That is of course a misunderstanding...

A 2006 recording of Glenn Gould?

The recording was made using measurements of the old recordings and then regenerating the performance on a computer-controlled grand piano, a modern pianola.

Why does it sound slow?

We know that it is not simply the number of notes (or event-rate) that defines a listeners impression of tempo. There are quite a few musical examples that have a lot of notes but that are generally judged to have a slow tempo (e.g, Javanese gamelan music).

Is it a male or female performer?

This week an interesting new web-based experiment... Can listeners determine the gender of the performer on the basis of a recording? Do the experiment by clicking...

Associate Professor Honing is head of the University of Amsterdam's Music Cognition Group. As his CV explains: He conducts research in music cognition, with a special focus on the temporal aspects of music (such as rhythm, timing, and tempo), using theoretical, empirical and computational methods.

Anyone who writes (and, like me, neglects) a blog can sympathise with this post from 30 July last year:

Yet Another blog?
Still wondering —on a Sunday afternoon at home— whether yet another blog is of any use.

Henkjan, my answer in your case is a loud Yes.

1 comment:

Henkjan Honing said...

Thanks for the compliment, but of course in the end its about music, that peculiar and intriguing human sensitivity.