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The So Strangely Podcast

Science Podcasts

A podcast on new research in Music Science

A podcast on new research in Music Science


United States


A podcast on new research in Music Science






Scale Degree Qualia in Context with Prof. Claire Arthur and Dr. David Baker

In western classical music, theorists have long argued (and mostly agreed) that individual notes of the major and minor scale have sensations associated, feelings often described in terms of tension, motion, sadness, and stability. Dr Baker recommends Prof. Clair Arthur’s paper “A perceptual study of scale-degree qualia in context” from Music Perception (2018) which describes testing these associations through the subjective reports of musicians and non-musicians when presented scale degrees...


ISMIR 2019 Conference sampler

This episode brings recommendations from the 2019 ISMIR conference at TUDelft in the Netherlands. A number of contributors, old and new, highlighted papers that had caught their attention. Note: At ISMIR, all accepted papers were presented via a short 4 minute talk and a poster. This arrangement made it possible to keep all presentations in a single track. All papers and permited talks are posted on the ISMIR site. Time Stamps [0:01:51] Matan’s rec[0:07:27] Rachel’s rec[0:10:51] Andrew’s...


Music Transformer and Machine Learning for Composition with Dr. Anna Huang

Finn interviews Composer and Machine Learning specialist Dr. Cheng-Zhi Anna Huang about the Music Transformer project at Google’s Magenta Labs. They discuss representations of music for machine learning, algorithmic music generation as a compositional aid, the JS Bach Google Doodle, how self-reference defines structure in music, and compare the musicality of different systems with example outputs.


Systemic Racism and Whiteness in Music Education, with Dr. Juliet Hess and co-host Ethan Hein

Music Education doctoral candidate Ethan Hein recommends “Equity and Music Education: Euphemisms, Terminal Naivety, and Whiteness” by Juliet Hess, published in Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, 2017. Ethan and Finn interview Dr. Juliet Hess about this study and whiteness in music education, and addressing systemic racism from within our areas of academia. Time Stamps [0:00:10] Intro with Ethan Hein [0:08:29] Interview: Dr. Juliet Hess, Background and Case Studies [0:18:50]...


Capturing the alignment between the movements of musicians and listeners with Dr. Alexander Demos

Host Finn Upham recommends “How Music Moves Us: Entraining to Musicians’ Movements” by Alexander Demos and Roger Chaffin, published in Music Perception, 2017. They interview Dr Demos about this study and adjacent issues. Note: This interview goes fairly deep into the challenges of time series data analysis. Feel free to use the time stamps listed in the show notes to skip ahead if this is not your cup of tea. Time Stamps [0:00:10] Intro to article and Alex [0:03:20] Design of Air Conducting...


Differences in metrical entrainment and replication research with Sylvie Nozaradan and cohost Sarah Sauvé

Postdoctoral fellow Sarah Sauvé recommends “Individual differences in rhythmic cortical entrainment correlate with predictive behavior in sensorimotor synchronization” by Sylvie Nozaradan, Isabelle Peret, and Peter E. Keller, published in Nature Scientific Reports in 2016. Sarah and Finn interview Dr. Nozaradan about the measures of metrical perception and rhythm production, entrainment to difficult stimuli, and what these results imply for a replication study conducted with older...


Episode 7: Society for Neuroscience 2018 Music Science Review

Four Music Science attendees of the 2018 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience join Finn to discuss their experience of the conference, their own projects, and other interesting research presented. PhD Candidates Avital Sternin, Andrew Chang, Dr. Keith Doelling, and Prof. Amy Belfi get into the neural processing of song, emotion and alzheimer's, leadership in small ensembles, onset prediction in the auditory cortex and more. Get an inside view of how Music Science fits into the biggest...


Episode 6: Relevance of vocals to music listener preferences, with Brian McFee and guest Andrew Demetriou

Music tech and data science professor Brian McFee recommends Vocals in Music Matter: The Relevance of Vocals in the Minds of Listeners by Andrew Demetriou, Andreas Jansson, Aparna Kumar, and Rachel M. Bittner, published in the 2018 ISMIR proceedings. Brian and Finn interview Andrew Demetriou about this research combining descriptions of music on Spotify and survey responses on what users pay attention to, like, and dislike in music generally and vocals specifically. Time Stamps [0:00:00]...


Episode 5: Cross-culture variation in preferences for consonance, with Dan Shanahan and guest Josh McDermott

Music Theorist Daniel Shanahan recommends "Indifference to dissonance in native Amazonians reveals cultural variation in music perception" by Josh H. McDermott, Alan F. Schultz, Eduardo A. Undurraga, and Ricardo A. Godoy, published in Nature Letters in 2016. Dan and Finn interview Josh about the musical culture of the Tsimane people, adapting music cognition experiments for cross-cultural studies, and what the absence of preference for consonant intervals (over dissonant intervals) in the...


Episode 4: Development and Teleomusicality with Mariusz Kozak and guest Andrea Schiavio

Music Theorist Mariusz Kozak recommends “When the Sound Becomes the Goal. 4E Cognition and Teleomusicality in Early Infancy” by Andrea Schiavio, Dylan van der Schyff, Silke Kruse-Weber and Renee Timmers, published in Frontiers in Psychology. Marius and Finn interview Andrea about this framing of early musical development and implications of an embodied, embedded, extended and enactive approach to cognitive science. Time Stamps [0:00:10] Intro with Mariusz [0:11:16] Interview: Origins and the...


Episode 3: Interactions of Metrical and Tonal Hierarchies with Bryn Hughes and guest Chris White

Music Theorist Bryn Hughes recommends Chris White's "Relationships Between Tonal Stability and Metrical Accent in Monophonic Contexts", published in the Empirical Musicology Review (2017). Bryn and Finn interview Prof. White about his sequence of perceptual studies on how tonal stability may inform metrical hierarchy and vis versa, and together they discuss implications for music theory and some common issues in music cognition studies. Show notes Recommended article: White, C. (2017)....


Episode 2: Aligned Hierarchies and Segmentation with Vincent Lostanlen and guest Katherine Kinnaird

Data Scientist Vincent Lostanlen recommends Katherine Kinnaird's “Aligned Hierarchies: A Multi-Scale Structure-Based Representation for Music-Based Data Streams”, published in the proceedings of ISMIR (2016). Vincent and Finn interview Dr. Kinnaird about this method for abstracting structure in music through repetition, how it has been implemented for fingerprinting on Chopin's Mazurkas, and how Aligned Hierarchies could be used for other tasks and on other musics. Show notes Recommended...


Episode 1: Music Anhedonia and White Matter with Amy Belfi and guest Psyche Loui

Neuroscientist Amy Belfi recommends “White Matter Correlates of Musical Anhedonia: Implications for Evolution of Music” by Loui, Patterson, Sachs, Leung, Zeng, and Przysinda, published in Frontiers in Psychology (2017). Amy and Finn interview Prof. Psyche Loui about this study, its relevance to theories of the evolution of music, and music anhedonia more broadly. Show notes Recommended article: Loui P, Patterson S, Sachs ME, Leung Y, Zeng T and Przysinda E (2017) White Matter Correlates of...


Episode 0: Introducing The So Strangely Podcast

A short introduction to The So Strangely Podcast on recent research in Music Science. **** Follow the podcast on Twitter @sostrangelypod Get in touch with the producer, finn @ **** The So Strangely Podcast is produced by Finn Upham, 2018. Closing music includes a sample of Diana Deutsch’s speech-song illusion sound demo 1.