For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Music Cognition (II): Where computational and cognitive models meet

March 27 and 28th, 2015

Organizers: John Ashley Burgoyne and M. Paula Roncaglia-Denissen

Advisory committee: Henkjan Honing, Aline Honingh and Makiko Sadakata



Music is a complex human phenomenon, motivating researchers to develop a wide variety of models to understand it. Scholars have developed and revised musical models continuously for millennia, ranging from the intervallic theories of Pythagoras and his followers to the industrial-scale music data mining that takes place today at music intelligence companies such as the Echo Nest. Different types of models have been developed to suit different academic purposes, including a number of cognitive models (Deutsch &Feroe, 1981; Koelsch, 2011; Lerdahl & Jackendoff, 1983; Narmour, 1992; Peretz & Coltheart, 2003) and a number of computational models (Wiggins, Pearce, & Müllensiefen, 2009), and at times, partisans of one model have criticized alternative models for the ways in which they are inevitably wrong or inadequate. The study of music cognition has been a notable flashpoint in these debates, specifically whether ‘cognitive’ or ‘computational’ models are most appropriate and where to draw the boundary between them (Volk & Honingh, 2012). Such polemics may well have resulted in missed collaborations among researchers with common goals: namely, to understand the mechanisms underlying music cognition. Thus, we propose a workshop about how computational models and cognitive models of music cognition could profit from one another, promoting a better understanding of music as a human phenomenon and improving the communication between music cognitive and computational scientists.

The workshop sessions will take place in the Oudemanhuispoort complex of the University of Amsterdam. Some sessions are joint sessions with the Shared Processing in Language and Music workshop. The coffee-breaks are at the Atrium (Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237) at 3 minutes walk from the Oudemanhuispoort main building.



Friday, 27 March

8.45 – Welcome and coffee (The main registration desk is at the entrance of the Oudemanhuispoort; coffee is at the Atrium)

9.30 – Joint Lecture (F0.01)

Victoria Williamson (University of Sheffield): The Musical Mind as Revealed Through Congenital Amusia

10.30 – Joint Lecture (F0.01)

Daniela Sammler (MPI Leipzig): Fractionating Prosody – Pathways and Mechanisms

11.30 – Lunch (organised by yourself)

13.00 – Joint Lecture (F0.01)

Marcus Pearce (Queen Mary, University of London): Dynamic Information-Theoretic Modelling of Expectation in Musical Listening

14.00 – Practical Tutorial (C0.17)

Marcus Pearce (Queen Mary, University of London): An IDyOM Tutorial: Modelling Auditory Expectations

15.00 – Coffee (Atrium)

15.45 – Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony* (C0.17)

Bastiaan van der Weij and Henkjan Honing (University of Amsterdam): A Probabilistic Interpretation of Syncopation and Rhythmic Complexity

Marcelo Rodríguez López and Anja Volk (Utrecht University): Repetition and Change in Melody Segmentation

Berit Janssen (University of Amsterdam): Melodic Factors of Melodic Stability in Oral Transmission

Thomas Hedges and Geraint Wiggins (Queen Mary, University of London): Segmentation and Grouping Structures in Jazz Chord Sequences: An Information-Theoretic Approach

17.15 – Transfer to keynote

17.30 – Keynote Lecture and Panel Discussion (see general program; location: Zuiderkerk)

Peter Hagoort (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics): From Language to Communication from an Embrained Perspective

Saturday, 28 March

9.30 – Joint Lecture (F0.01)

Stefan Koelsch (Freie Universität Berlin): Cognitive Principles Underlying Syntactic Processing

10.30 – Coffee (Atrium)

11.00 – Musical Communication* (C0.17)

Eduardo Coutinho and Björn Schuller (Imperial College London): Music and Speech: Overlapping Acoustic Codes for Emotional Expression?

Carlos Vaquero (University of Amsterdam): Is There an Idiosyncrasy Threshold in Performance?

Mohammad Soleymani, Anna Aljanaki, Frans Wiering, and Remco C. Veltkamp (University of Geneva/Utrecht University): Content-based Computational Model Based on Music Preference Structure for Music Recommendation

12.00 – Lunch (organised by yourself)

13.30 – Joint Lecture (F0.01)

Usha Goswami (University of Cambridge): Rhythm Perception in Music and Language: A Developmental Perspective

14.30 – Practical Tutorial (C0.17)

Stefan Koelsch (Freie Universität Berlin): Methodological Issues in the Investigation of Music-Syntactic Processing

15.30 – Coffee and closing (Atrium)


Although the rooms are equipped with PCs, presenters are asked to bring their own laptops if possible, including any necessary VGA adapters.

Attendees who would like to follow along with the examples in Marcus Pearce’s tutorial may download and install the IDyOM software available with instructions here:

and also the following music corpora:

For Stefan Koelsch’s tutorial, attendees are invited, and strongly encouraged, to bring their own research ideas and materials, so that problems and questions can be addressed and discussed. Please contact the organizers at least one day in advance, including information about stimuli and other methods, if you intend to discuss your own research.

* Information for presenters: we have 20 minutes for each presentation (15 minutes talk and 5 minutes discussion)