“Research outreach” and rhythm perception testing at PASIC 2014

Indianapolis, Indiana

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 11.55.07 AMEight lab members travelled to Indianapolis, IN for five days to test expert percussionists on rhythm perception. Our goal was to better understand how the types of movements used in playing an instrument might lead to different listening experiences later in life.  We also staffed an “experiencing research” poster session discussing how research on music cognition can inform musical education and performance.  The lab is grateful to Petro-Canada for sponsoring Dr. Schutz’s 2014 Young Innovator Award providing support for this valuable endeavour.  For more information about this project click here.   Update: we presented preliminary results from this testing at PASIC 2015, and subsequently published our findings in the journal Psychology Research.  This papers is available for download from our publications page. Photo on 2014-11-20 at 9.28 AM #2


Jess Gillard becomes our first MSc graduate, accepts job offer as a researcher at St. Joesph’s Healthcare

Jess 2013 Jess’s thesis included an extensive coding of many properties of sounds used in the journals Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, as well as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. As part of this project she developed a significant amount of R code for use in visualizing the distribution of various properties.  Her thesis also included original perceptual experiments involving manipulations of amplitude envelope.  She is now applying her facility in data analytics to a new position as a research assistant at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, working on a survey of operational efficiency.  Congratulations Jess – we are excited for your future and look forward to building on the great work you’ve done the past few years.

Three presentations at the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition

Seoul, South Korea

Capture d’écran 2014-04-25 à 12.25.34Diana Martinezlorrainechuen_picJess 2013Fiona Manning

Lab presentations cover three main project areas, including:

  • From score to stage: Exploring the relationship between music structure and emotional response (Martinez, Chuen, & Schutz).  This presentation is part of a symposium exploring empirical musicological approaches to the study of emotional communication in music, which will include presentations by David Huron, Lisa Margulis, Dan Shanahan and Leigh VanHandel.
  • A quantitative analysis of auditory stimuli: New results and insights (Gillard, & Schutz).  This talk summarizes new insights from the lab’s ongoing Survey of Sounds project exploring the types of sounds used in auditory research.  The talk will cover findings from three journals: Music Perception; Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics; and Hearing Research.
  • Tapping through longer periods of silence improves perceived timing (Manning, & Schutz) discusses new findings regarding the role of metric structure in sensorimotor interactions.  This presentation extends Fiona’s research on the role of body movement in rhythm perception.

SSHRC funds new project exploring the communication of emotion in music ($75,000)

SSHRC logo This award funded a new exploration of music’s powerful ability to convey emotion.  The project, titled Across the centuries: Exploring the communication of emotion in J.S. Bach’s “Well Tempered Clavier”  offered opportunities for students at both the graduate and undergraduate level.  In addition to supporting projects touching on perception as well as musical analysis, it was used to begin exploring individual differences in interpretation of this iconic work, based on an in-depth analysis of tempos used in Glenn Gould’s performances of the pieces.  See here for more information about this project.

New amplitude envelope findings now accepted for publication in the journal Perception

Perception   Collaborative work with former visiting graduate student Guillaume Vallet and McMaster colleague Dr. David Shore resulted in a new paper, “Exploring the role of amplitude envelope in duration estimations” in the journal Perception. This work explores the underlying strategies used to process sounds with natural dynamic temporal structures. Specifically, it contrasts these strategies with those used in processing the simplistic artificial sounds frequently used in auditory research.

Dr. Schutz received the 2014 Young Innovator Award sponsored by Petro-Canada

McMaster University. Hamilton, ON

Petro-Canada_logo.svg This prize is given annually to celebrate the “achievements of an outstanding faculty innovator.”   This $25,000 award helped fund an initiative providing research opportunities for undergraduate students, who were able to contribute directly to multiple ongoing lab projects. Funds from this award were used to send students to several major music conventions to test professional and aspiring professional musicians.  The overall goal of this project was to better understand the relationship between musical training and musical perception.  It was also used to promote public interest in the growing field of music cognition (click here for more information).

Dr. Schutz performs on renowned composer Judith Shatin’s latest album Time to Burn

Booklet-Pg1_07_1-8Dr. Schutz was featured on Judith Shatin’s latest album, performing with percussionist I-Jen Fang and oboist Aaron Hill.  He premiered this piece at PASIC in Austin, Texas after co-commissioning it with Fang.  This was Shatin’s third solo album with Innova, and is available through both Amazon and iTunes.  To preview this work, visit www.innova.mu/albums/judith-shatin/time-burn

Shatin noted that when writing she was “fueled by my rage and sadness at the burning that has erupted around us. One is hardpressed to keep track of it all. The past decade has been an era of renewed holocausts driven by ethnic and religious hatred. The rampant intolerance in our world is reminiscent of the ‘burning time’ of the Inquisition or the burning of witches.”  The sheet music is also available for purchase at judithshatin.com/time-to-burn.


Performance at the Ontario Day of Percussion (University of Guelph)

Guelph, ON

Day of Percussion

Photo by Zoltan Harsanyi

Dr. Schutz gave an invited performance at the Ontario Day of Percussion, sponsored by the Percussive Arts Society (PAS).  The 30 minute recital included solo performances on vibraphone, marimba, and snare drum, as well as duets with flautist David Gerry, and percussionist Stefan Kitai. Dr. Schutz also participated in a snare drum workshop organized by Jay Boehmer, aimed at high school students from around the area.  He is looking forward to becoming more involved with the Ontario chapter of PAS now that he has established permanent residency and is able to begin free-lancing once again.

Jonny publishes “Surveying the Temporal Structure of Sounds Used” in Music Perception

Jonny Vaisberg Journal of Music perception Lab alumni Jonny Vaisberg (’13) published an exhaustive “survey of sounds” exploring the temporal structures of auditory research published in the journal Music Perception. This paper builds on a previous bibliometric survey of topics by Anna Tirovolas and Dan Levitin, and shows that a great deal of work on auditory perception focuses on sounds with unnatural temporal structures.  We are interested in better understanding the types of sounds used in auditory research, given several lab projects demonstrating clear differences in the perceptual processing of tones with natural vs. artificial temporal structures.


University Affairs features MAPLE Lab in discussion of Canadian research on music cognition

universityaffairs An article covering “How music affects the brain” reports on our work exploring sensorimotor integration and audio-visual integration in music perception. The story highlights Canada’s leadership role in the rapidly growing field of music cognition by discussing findings from several of the country’s top research groups.  For more information or to read the article click here!


Dr. Schutz elected to the Society of Music Perception and Cognition board

SMPC Dr. Schutz has been elected to the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC) through a society-wide vote.  He begins his role as a member-at-large, joining existing members-at-large Dr. John Iversen, Dr. Scott Lipscomb, and Dr. Leigh Van Handel, as well as Dr. Ed Large (President), Dr. Peter Pfordresher (secretary), and Dr. Devin McAuley (treasurer).  He is looking forward to continuing to serve this important scholarly group.


“Moving to the beat” paper published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

pbr FionaFiona Manning and Dr. Schutz published ‘”Moving to the Beat” Improves Timing Perception’ in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. This paper demonstrates that moving to the beat (tapping) while listening can objectively improve our perception of musical timing.  It forms the basis of subsequent explorations of differences in rhythm perception in percussionists and non-percussionists.  Click here to learn more about this project.

Dr. Schutz chairs programming for Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC) meeting

Ryerson University. Toronto, ON.

SMPC 2013 After many months of planning, coordinating, and logistical work, Dr. Schutz and Dr. Frank Russo successfully host SMPC 2013 – the largest meeting of the society to date, attended by hundreds of researchers from around the world.  In addition to planning the programming, the lab was busy presenting our latest findings.  Fiona Manning, Jessica Gillard & Dr. Schutz gave talks on Sensorimotor Integration, Associative Memory of Sounds and Amplitude Envelope respectively. Additionally, Jennifer Harris and Raven Hebert-Lee and Miranda Nasato presented posters.
Fiona ManningJess 2013JenRavenMiranda

Jess Gillard Publishes a technical brief in the Journal of Medical Devices

Jess 2013 Jessica Gillard authored a technical brief titled ‘Exploring Melodic Structure to Increase Heterogeneity of Auditory Alarm Sets in Medical Devices’,  published in the Journal of Medical Devices. This paper explores the melodic structure of auditory alarms used in hospitals and offers new, detailed information on alarm confusions that can help inform future research on melodic alarm design.  The design of auditory alarms in medical devices is a new area of study for the lab, but one with significant potential for improving the delivery of health care services.

Fiona Manning receives the Queen Elizabeth Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology

FionaFiona Manning received $15,000 from the Queen Elizabeth Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology for the 2012-2013 academic year. This scholarship is awarded annually to a student who exhibits overall academic excellence, research ability, excellent communication skills and interpersonal and leadership abilities. Congratulations Fiona! QE


Arts Research Board (ARB) grant for “Surveying the sounds used in auditory perception research”

This $5,244 award to Dr. Schutz assisted our ongoing efforts to survey the types of sounds used in auditory research. This extended the lab’s previous survey work, complementing our ongoing experimental study of amplitude envelope’s role in perceptual tasks such as sensory integration, associative memory, and the choice of duration judgment strategies. For more information see our ARB funding page listing each of the lab’s awards from this agency. Survey

Dr. Schutz Keynote speaker and performer at the NeuroMusic Conference Concert featuring TorQ

Dr. Michael Schutz both lectured and performed several solos (as well as one ensemble piece with TorQ) at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind’s (MIMM) NeuroMusic Conference Concert titled The Multisensory Percussionist. Theresearch component of this lecture/concert reviewed lab projects using percussion instruments to explore both audio-visual and sensorimotor integration, including a new rhythm perception study in which the members of TorQ served as (highly trained) participants!

Dr. Schutz & the TorQ Percussion Ensemble at the MIMM NeuroMusic Conference Keynote Concert. (From left to right: Dan Morphy, Adam Campbell, Dr. Michael Schutz, Richard Burrows & Jamie Drake)


The MAPLE Lab receives funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Dr. Schutz received $154,213 in funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) – Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure (ORF-RI) Program. This sum added to the federal funding from the CFI totals $424,933 in contributions to the MAPLE Lab. This award supplied the sound booths, computers and testing equipment (button boxes, tapping pads, etc.) renovations costs, and a variety of percussion instruments including a 5.0 octave marimba, vibraphone, electronic marimba (MalletKat), electronic drumset, and piano. Additionally, it provided significant support for the extensive renovations involved in setting up a research facility with the School of the Arts.

Ted McMeekin announces $4.6 million investment by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, through its Ontario Research Fund Research Infrastructure Program, to support 14 projects, representing a range of disciplines at McMaster University. Photo by Ron Scheffler for McMaster University.