Music Science and Technology Research Cluster Launch

Posted on 28 November 2016

The launch of the University of York Music Science and Technology Research Cluster took place on Friday the 25th of November 2016 in the Rymer Auditorium at the Department of Music at the University of York. The 50 odd guests were treated to an evening of introductory talks about the cluster and current topics within each group.

Prof. Ambrose Field gave an opening account of how it is no longer useful or correct to view theArts and Sciences as separate or competing activities, but instead, he suggested they should embrace each other due to the symbiotic enhancement each can afford the other. Dr. Federico Reuben (director of the MSTRC) then gave an introduction to the cluster, including its publishing goals and some of the facilities available to people with an interest in conducting research in this field.

The director of each of the three sub-groups which make up the mstrc then introduced the current members of their respective groups and current research projects. First, Dr. Hauke Egermann discussed the York Music Psychology Group (YMPG) and what music psychology can involve using a basic and summative model.

Next, Dr. Federico Reuben, director of Technologies for Musical Creativity Group (TMCG), introduced his work on distributed network performance and the Online Orchestra project, an AHRC-funded project which culminated in July 2015 with a performance involving musicians around Cornwall (Truro Cathedral, Isles of Scilly, Falmouth University, and the Lizard Peninsula) performing three new works together live online. The ongoing work on this project will develop a web-based application for distributed network performance based on the findings of the first phase of the project. It will address key issues related to network performance including novel approaches to handling latency, network architecture, echo management, and network access. He also gave a quick summary of his ongoing project on laptop improvisation with live instruments, for which he is developing a new command-line style live coding environment that will be released soon. 

The third sub-group of this cluster is headed by Dr. Jez Wells and is entitled Music Production, Processing and Analysis Group (MPPAG). Dr Wells explained how artificial manipulation of a recording can be used to recreate the effect of a large scale acoustic environment on sounds recorded in far more intimate venues. 

The Keynote speaker for this event was Dr. Tuomas Eerola, from Durham University. Guests were very lucky to have an opportunity to hear an expert in the field of Music Emotion Recognition (MER) discussing, what he perceives as, the shortcomings of research in this area thus far. Eerola argued that there are three major issues with current research in this area which can be summarised as Contextual, Conceptual and Data related. After explaining each, he suggested that the mstrc could be seen to address all three of these issues with YMPG tackling the conceptual issues through meaningful constructs and valid and theoretically driven research, TMCC seeking to cover the situational and social dimensions and MPPAG large scale, reliable data.

The event culminated with a performance of an improvised set by Federico Reuben (laptop/live coding), Radek Rudnicki (electronics/analogue synthesisers) and James Mainwaring (saxophone). The evening was then rounded off with a mixer in the department's beautiful Music Research Centre.

We would like to thank you for your support and attendance at the launch of the Music, Science and Technology Research Cluster last Friday. It was a great event and we were very happy to see so many people there. I hope that the event was worthwhile and that you now know more about the cluster, its direction and ambitions.

Please keep in touch if you are interested in our research and activities, would like to collaborate, or get involved in any capacity.

Federico Reuben (Director of mstrc & TMCG)

Jez Wells (Director of MPPAG)

Hauke Egermann (Director of YMPG)