Students present their findings at LOVE Conference 2018

Niagara Falls, ON

On February 8th and 9th, the MAPLE Lab attended the 47th annual Lake Ontario Visionary Establishment (LOVE) Conference. Two members of our lab presented posters showcasing their work:

  • Joyce Chan presented a poster on the impact of timing on subjective ratings of musical emotion
  • Sharmila Sreetharan presented a poster on her recent findings regarding the use of amplitude envelope on auditory alarms

End-of-term Holiday Celebration

  The MAPLE Lab’s last meeting of the term was a holiday get-together complete with a Secret Santa gift exchange! The celebration was much needed after a productive term full of experiments, conferences, and presentations. To get regular updates on what goes on in our lab, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! We wish everyone a safe and relaxing holiday season.

Dr. Schutz publishes an article in Frontiers in Psychology

  Pitch and timing are cues used to convey emotion in both music and speech. This focused review explores how these cues interact with a third musical cue, modality, and what the implications are for creating music that sounds happy or sad. The review is titled “Acoustic constraints and musical consequences: Exploring composers’ use of cues for musical emotion”, and it features a previous paper by Dr. Schutz that was selected as one of the top 100 articles of 2015 (out of 12,000 total submissions)!  

Dr. Marc Thompson visits the MAPLE Lab

Dr. Marc Thompson will be a special guest speaker in lab meeting.  He is visiting from the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research (University of Jyväskylä), where his research interests include entrainment in music performance, gesture-controlled musical interfaces, and university pedagogy.  His talk will focus on issues of embodied cognition and music listening, based on his extensive research on this topic.   

Maxwell and Joyce present at NeuroMusic

Hamilton, ON


On November 18th, Maxwell and Joyce will be presenting their posters at the NeuroMusic Conference held at McMaster University. 

Maxwell’s poster is titled “MAESTRO: A new tool for sound synthesis and observation” based on the auditory software he worked on over the summer.  Joyce is presenting “The impact of timing on musical emotion”. Her study investigates how performer manipulations of tempo affect listener perception of conveyed emotion. 

Maxwell Ng debuts MAESTRO software at NSERC student conference

Hamilton, ON

On October 25th, Maxwell Ng presented a poster titled “MAESTRO: A new tool for sound synthesis and observation” at McMaster University based on his work as an NSERC USRA student over the summer of 2017. MAESTRO stands for MAPLE Lab Auditory Exploration Suite for Teaching, Research, and Observation and it aims to provide students and researchers with an opportunity to create and manipulate sounds. 

If you are interested in using this software, simply visit our pedagogy page for instructions on installing and using this valuable tool.

  Maxwell with his NSERC poster



Acoustics Week in Canada 2017

Guelph, ON

  Maxwell co-authored a presentation titled “Seeing Sound: A New Tool for Teaching Music Perception Principles.”  Lab alumna Jess co-authored a presentation titled “Surveying the sounds used in auditory perception research: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.” Both presentations happened in Guelph, ON for Acoustics Week in Canada on October 11th to 13th. For more information on the lab’s recent publications and presentations, visit our Publications page!  

Talk at University of Toronto Music and Health Research Colloquium Series




Dr. Schutz will be speaking on the colloquium series at the University of Toronto (Faculty of Music). This colloquium series is run by Dr. Michael Thaut as part of the new graduate program in Music and Health Studies.  

The talk will discuss a range of the lab’s percussion-focused research, touching on practical applications for performing musicians, implications for psychological theory, connections with clinical treatments, and future studies applying our basic research to improving auditory alarms in medical devices.

Where:  Edward Johnson Music Building, room 217

When:  Thur, Oct 19th (3.15-4.45pm)

Who: The talk is free and open to the public

Seeing Music: Translating research on music perception to clinical contexts

Why do we buy concert tickets when the same sounds can be heard more cheaply and comfortably within our own homes? Why do popular music concerts include elaborate lighting and staging effects for what is ostensibly an auditory event? Why can’t orchestral musicians wear t-shirts and flip-flops? Clearly, visual information can play a significant role in the experience of music, but how and why does this happen? My talk will explore this issue through the context of a musical illusion in which musicians use visible gestures to change the way music “sounds.” Some expert performers capitalize on the fact that although these gestures have no acoustic consequences, they are crucial in shaping the way in which audiences perceive performances. This illusion raises interesting philosophical questions about what music “is” and how it is best experienced. It has also led to a surprising range of recent discoveries raising new questions about issues ranging from refining our understanding of sensory integration dysfunction in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to improving the design of auditory alarms in medical devices – an industry valuated by Industry Canada at $6 billion annually.

The MAPLE Lab presents latest findings at SMPC 2017

San Diego, CA

From July 30th to August 3rd, several members of the MAPLE Lab went to San Diego, California to present talks and posters at the 2017 Society for Music Perception and Cognition Meeting.

  • Aimee Battcock presented a talk titled, “The importance of musical structure in listener perception of emotion.”

  • Anna Siminoski presented a talk titled, “Ancillary gestures as tools for inter-performer communication.”

  • Noah Little presented two posters which are titled, “Shared musical experiences and altruistic behaviour: An exploratory study” and, “Exploring the positive benefits of festival attendance for adolescent development.”

  • Dr. Schutz presented a talk titled, “A comprehensive survey of auditory perception stimuli.”

Aimee Battcock

Anna Siminoski

Noah Little

Dr. Schutz

Dr. Schutz talks at the 16th Rhythm Production and Perception Workshop

Birmingham, UK


Dr. Schutz presented a talk titled “Exploring unintentional coordination in Steve Reich’s Drumming: A case study of expert musicians attempting joint desynchronization” at RPPW 2017 in Birmingham UK. The conference brought together researchers from a range of disciplines to engage in discussions about the scientific study of rhythm, and took place on Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus.

Note: Interactive visualization presented during talk now available online at

Talk image to left courtesy of tweet from Dawn Rose (@dawnidrums)


Aimee Battcock Receives the Harvey E. Longboat Award

Graduate student Aimee Battcock secured funding from the Harvey E. Longboat Graduate Scholarship for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Students for her work on studying the perception of emotion in music.  This award strives to recognize and acknowledge the academic achievement and exceptional promise of indigenous graduate students at McMaster University.  Congratulations Aimee! 


New book on Steve Reich debuts novel rhythmic analyses


Russell Hartenberger’s new book “Performance Practice in the Music of Steve Reich” from Cambridge University Press is now available.  As part of his comprehensive and authoritative discussion of Reich’s music, he includes the first published glimpse at a new study in which Dr. Schutz analyzed the timings of phasing in Reich’s Drumming.  

This study involved recording Russell Hartenberger and Bob Becker playing phases from the piece in McMaster’s new LIVE Lab, with technical assistance from recording guru Ray Dillard.  For a visualization of this complex data set, visit  Or for more information on Dr. Hartenberger’s new book, click here.


View customized groups of News & Events

Interested in certain topics?  Browse content from specific categories and tags by simply clicking on the pertinent word below each post. 

For example, clicking on the “Percussion” category will open a new page that shows all the posts that have been sorted under “Percussion” category.  


@Percussion Podcast special episode featuring marimba gesture research


The @Percussion podcast hosted by Casey Cangelosi along with Megan Arns, Ben Charles, Laurel Black, and Tracy Wiggins featured discussion of our percussion-focused research. The weekly podcast invites a wide range of musicians to discuss topics related to percussion, music, and the arts in general.   This program focused on the marimba illusion research, talking about its psychological basis as well as its practical applications.  

The episode is now available as either a video broadcast below or as an audio podcast on iTunes and their blogspot page.

Members of the MAPLE Lab Present Their Findings at LOVE

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Last week the MAPLE Lab headed to Niagara Falls to the 46th annual Lake Ontario Visionary Establishment Conference.  Noah Little,  Anna Siminoski, Erica Huynh, and Maxwell Ng all presented posters showcasing their recent research findings.  Their topics ranged from musician interactions to pro-social benefits of music to new tools for music cognition research.

Click here for more information about the LOVE Conference.

Noah Little

Noah Little


Anna Siminoski


Erica Huynh

Maxwell Ng

Maxwell Ng







Here are some photos of us at the LOVE Conference!


Starting a New Semester in the MAPLE Lab

The MAPLE Lab is psyched to get back into the swing of things this semester.  We are also happy to welcome our new team of student research assistants to the lab.  The hard work of all of our research assistants is essential to the success of the lab.  You can find out more about them on our people page.

This year promises to be exciting and productive with many new projects, publications, and events already underway.  Stay tuned to our news and events page to keep up with all of our updates.

New paper exploring the importance of melodic structure on alarm design

Jess 2013  

Lab alumni Jess Gillard’s (MSc ‘14) paper “Composing Alarms” now appears in the latest issue of Neurocase. Her research explores the role of melodic intervals in contributing to well known issues of confusion related to auditory alarms as a tool for human computer interfaces. Standardized auditory alarms are used in a variety of medical devices as they convey important information without requiring constant visual monitoring.  However, these alarms are often confused making them less useful. Studies like this one aim to determine the factors making the alarm ineffective in order to better inform future alarm design.  

Click here to read this paper, or click here for more information on this topic.



Fiona publishes new paper in Experimental Brain Research


Dr. Fiona Manning’s (PhD ’16) latest findings are now in press at Experimental Brain Research.  The study examined rhythm perception in percussionists and non-percussionists when finger tapping to a musical beat.  Although we previously found percussionists significantly outperform non-percussionists when using a drumstick, here percussionist performance was only slightly better.  More importantly, both groups performed better when tapping with sticks than fingers – regardless of musical training.  This surprising finding raises interesting questions about past timing studies – which generally use finger tapping alone.  Our data came from our lab road trips to PASIC, funded by Dr. Schutz’s Petro Canada Young Investigator Award, and builds on our novel discovery that “moving to the beat” improves rhythm perception.  

Click here for a preprint of this paper, or click here for more information on our previous work

  Fiona Portrait


Dr. Schutz Featured on CBC’s The Nature of Things

portal_tnot_gen-headerOn December 1st the CBC debuted an episode of The Nature of Things with David Suzuki titled “I Got Rhythm: The Science of Song.”  The episode explored the science behind how music affects the body and the brain and also looked at the fascinating relationship humans have with music.  One segment featured an interview with Dr. Schutz discussing how pitch, modality, and timing cues contribute to the expression of emotion in music.  Dr. Trainor, another researcher from McMaster University, was also featured on the broadcast.  

For more information and to watch the full episode, click here.