Why go to a music concert? Panel talk @QMUL on 1 March, FREE


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A Mind of Music – Why Go to A Concert?


Tuesday, 1 March 2016 from 17:30 to 19:00 (GMT) – Add to Calendar

The Octagon, Queen’s Building – Queen Mary University of London, . Mile End Road. London E1 4NS GB – View Map

Panel talk with Professor John Sloboda and other leading figures in Music Research

“Much of the music we listen to in everyday life is accessed via recordings in our own private space. What are the reasons for attending a live music event?  What happens in audiences when they attend?  What are the benefits or disadvantages from doing so and how might this apply to our wider mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing?  This panel discussion will present cutting edge research into our understanding of live musical experiences, what happens during music performances and the role of the audience plays within musical events.”

Tickets (FREE): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-mind-of-music-why-go-to-a-concert-tickets-19997976486

Picture above is from a brilliant David Arnold concert I was at in Dublin last year.

Further reading

Do you gain anything from listening to a concert?

Musedelica: First symposium on psychedelic music – Sussex, June 2016


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I’m a member of the Music and Science mailing list and that’s where I heard about this event (below) but on googling for more info I have also discovered the existence of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) UK and Ireland Branch so that might be of interest to some readers, if you didn’t already know about it of course 🙂

Details of the conference follow…


A symposium for researchers in the field of psychedelic music and related areas


JUNE 14-15th 2016
The Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex

The first Musedelica symposium will be held June 14-15th, 2016 at the Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. The symposium will bring together students, early career researchers, independent researchers and music producers from the field of psychedelic music and related areas.

The symposium focusses on psychedelic music, especially (but not limited to) electronic dance music and other fields related to psychedelic drugs and music. Proposals are welcome from researchers in any field; see the list of topics below for more details.
In addition to giving students and early career researchers the chance to present their research in an intimate and friendly academic setting, Musedelica will bring together researchers from a range of fields, facilitate the sharing and synthesis of new ideas, and help to shape an exciting and  interdisciplinary field of research.

The deadline to submit proposals is March 15th, 2016
(Notification of acceptance by March 31st, 2016)

To submit your proposal, please click on ‘submit proposal’ at the top right corner of the page, or email as an attached document to G.L.Farrell@sussex.ac.uk. Proposals should be around 300-500 words.

20-30 mins. We are interested in submissions that address the topics listed below. Proposals should outline how the work relates to one or more of the conference themes. Please also provide a 150-word (maximum) biography.

10-20 mins. This could be a performance of a piece of psychedelic music, perhaps incorporating a short talk about its psychedelic or trance state-inducing elements. A demonstration of your composition practice or performance practice would also be of interest. Proposals should outline how the work relates to one or more of the conference themes and should comprise: A description of the work (including duration), 150-word (maximum) biography and a technical rider (technical specifications of the venue are available on request).

Topics of interest

  • Electronic dance music, the psychedelic experience and/or trance state
  • Psychedelic music (of any genre) and the psychedelic experience and/or trance state
  • The embodied experience of composing, appreciating and/or dancing to psychedelic music
  • Music festivals and the psychedelic experience, including issues surrounding well-being and harm reduction
  • Psychedelic substances and the composition, perception and/or appreciation of music
  • Dancing and the trance state and/or psychedelic experience
  • Music cultures and the psychedelic experience and/or trance state
  • Music cultures and the prohibition of recreational drugs
  • The process, practice and/or experience of composing psychedelic music.
  • New methodologies/directions in the research of psychedelic music
  • Other related topics: this is not a definitive list, so please contact me with ideas.

Funding is being sought and we will know whether this has been successful in March. If funding is obtained, the symposium will be free of charge and participants will just need to obtain funding from their own institution to cover the cost of travel and accommodation. If the symposium does not attract funding, the cost of registration will be around £40-50.

We look forward to receiving your proposal!

See also
Musedelica: First symposium on psychedelic music

[FREE] Computer music with Stephen Pope, from @C4DM / @QMUL – Mon 23 Nov, 6.30-8pm


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Note: in the afternoon, before the evening concert, Stephen Pope is also giving a seminar. Details at the end.

Image from page 436 of "Bell telephone magazine" (1922)

“Jean Claude Risset, visiting French physicist and composer, demonstrates trumpet tune synthesised by computer. This is part of continuing research in the basic properties of sound and speech.” [Credit] [Source]

C4DM presents Computer Music! with Stephen Pope (and other neural networks)
Monday 23 November 2015, 6.30-8pm
MAT performance lab (Engineering Building, QMUL, Mile End Road)
Stepney Green tube, or 25/205 bus at Bus Stop D (Ocean Estate)

More information: https://sites.google.com/site/c4dmconcerts1516/home/fixedmedia/computermusic
Free tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/c4dm-presents-computer-music-with-stephen-pope-tickets-19251520817

  • Prelude to the Night (2008) – Oded Ben-Tal
  • 15 excerpts with a video collage of tools and video art (1978-2006) – Stephen Travis Pope
  • You Slut! – Plural Sex (MCLD Remix) (2013) – Dan Stowell
  • A few short outputs generated by a long short- term memory network with three fully connected hidden layers of 512 units each trained on over 20,000 ABC transcriptions of session music (Irish, English, etc.), and arranged by my own “personal” neural network trained on who knows what for who knows how long (I can’t remember any of the settings) (2015) – Bob L. Sturm
  • Secrets, Dreams, Faith, and Wonder – A Mass for the New Millennium in Five Parts (2000-14) short-subject – Stephen Travis Pope

I asked Bob Sturm what computer music meant in this context and he said:

“Computer music” is music created with help of a computer. Related terms include: “tape music,” “electroacoustic music,” “electronic music,” “musique concrète,” or even “sound art”. This concert will feature two audiovisual works by Stephen Pope (http://www.mat.ucsb.edu/~stp/), who is a multitalented composer and computer scientist who has contributed many years to the field. Also on the program will be three other works, but for only speaker playback.

“MIR and Birdsong Seminar” details
Monday 23 November, 3-4pm, ITL Top Floor
MIR in the field: Content-based Music Recommender Systems and Bird Song Identification

Part 1 of this talk will survey the state of the art in music recommender systems and present the author’s SndsLike system developed between 2008 and 2014. Measured in terms of the amount of time they’ve been heralded as the “next big thing,” few technologies can rival content-based multimedia search engines. Using data features derived from multimedia content such as sound or images (without requiring human-generated metadata), together with advanced data-mining techniques to deliver user-preference-related similarity metrics (for search engines) has been a central topic in both image processing and music information retrieval for over a decade.

Part 2 of the talk will introduce the BirdGenie bird song identification app for smartphones. Engineers and scholars have researched software systems for automatic bird song identification (ABSI) for some years, borrowing a variety of technologies from the fields of Music Information Retrieval (MIR) and computer speech understanding. In general, ABSI research has only focused on a small number of species (20 or fewer). These systems have analyzed songs using well-known signal processing techniques to deliver a defined set of parameters per recorded song. This “feature vector” for each recording is usually a set of somewhere between 20 and 100 numbers, which are then passed to a classifier to be identified. Most systems use machine learning methods such as nearest-neighbor matching or support vector machines (SVMs) to compare the extracted parameters to a database of known species. BirdGenie differs from most other ABSI systems both in the feature vector and the machine-learning techniques.

Stephen Travis Pope (1955) grew up just outside New York City, and studied at Cornell University, The Vienna Music Academy and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He has realized his musical works in the North America (Toronto, Stanford, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Havana) and Europe (Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Salzburg, Vienna, Berlin). His music is available from Centaur Records, Perspectives of New Music, Touch Music, SBC Records and Absinthe Records.

In 2007, The Electronic Music Foundation in New York released a triple-disc retrospective of his works called “Ritual and Memory”; his latest release is the award-winning feature-length visual/music film “Secrets, Dreams, Faith and Wonder: A Mass for the New Millennium in Five Parts” (with videos by R Lane Clark, Lance Putnam and others). Stephen also has over 100 technical publications on music theory and composition, computer music, software engineering and artificial intelligence. He has lived in Santa Barbara, California for the last 20 years.

Peter Strickland’s The Stone Tape – eerie BBC R4 drama in binaural 3D sound recorded in Spitalfields


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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 00.19.59

Well this is pretty amazing. Also very witty. A great cast performs an updated version of the 1970s The Stone Tape and it’s a treat for audio fans, full of wonderful sounds and rather unsettling. I’m jealous to learn that a bunch of people got to hear it in a crypt as I can imagine that would be the perfect way to hear it. Peter Strickland directs it and he was also behind the wonderful Berberian Sound Studio.

You really, really need headphones for this. It’s on the BBC iPlayer for another month or so.

There are two versions – 3D binaural audio and regular audio.

From reading the Den of Geek post above (about the people hearing it in a crypt) I learned of In The Dark Radio which I think any readers of this blog would enjoy. They have events in London, Bristol and Manchester where you can go and hear stuff. I imagine it’s conceptually similar to the Third Coast Internaional Audio Festival of curated sound in Chicago.

I loved the bit at the end where they told us what equipment they used to record it. Londoners might like to know that it was filmed at 4 Princelet Street, Spitalfields, London. There’s a ‘meet the cast’ photo thing here. The Spitalfields Life blog has some beautiful photos of that part of London too, and a lot of information about its history and the people who’ve lived there.

Jill Greely………….Romola Garai
Dr Leo Cripps……Julian Rhind-Tutt
Marvy Wade……..Dean Andrews
Terry Briscoe…….Julian Barratt
Cleft………………..Tom Bennett
Jill’s mother………Jane Asher
The scream………Eugenia Caruso

Music and electronics: James Cargill
Vocal effects: Andrew Liles
Analogue effects: Steve Haywood and Raoul Brand
Sound mix: Eloise Whitmore

Written by Matthew Graham and Peter Strickland
Based on the original TV play by Nigel Kneale

Director: Peter Strickland
Producer: Russell Finch
Executive Producer: Polly Thomas

A Somethin’ Else production for BBC Radio 4.

For people who work in music technology / audio stuff – give your views on A-level Music Tech curriculum


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The Department for Education is currently consulting on the subject content of several subjects at GCSE and AS/ A-level. One of them is AS / A-level Music Technology.

The consultation closes on 24 September and note that Government consultation responses are often published (or may be made available as part of an FOI request).

Full list and background info // PDF consultation document for Music Tech

Free event @QMUL: Listening in the Wild: Animal & machine audition in multisource environments, 28 Aug


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Full details of event location, contact details and free Eventbrite tickets for this delightful-sounding event at Queen Mary University of London (Stepney Green / Mile End) on Friday 28 August. The event’s organised by Dan Stowell and colleagues from the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM).

Programme and speaker (and poster) abstracts

Listening in the Wild: Animal and machine audition in multisource environments
Research workshop, QMUL, London
Fri 28th August, 10:30am-5pm

* How do animals recognise sounds in noisy multisource environments?
* How should machines recognise sounds in noisy multisource environments?

This workshop will bring together researchers in engineering disciplines (machine listening, signal processing, computer science) and biological disciplines (bioacoustics, ecology, perception and cognition), to discuss complementary perspectives on making sense of natural and everyday sound.


  • Annamaria Mesaros (Tampere University of Technology, Finland)
    Sound event detection in everyday environments
  • Alison Johnston (British Trust for Ornithology)
    What proportion of birds do we detect? Variation in bird detectability by species, habitat and observer
  • Jordi Bonada (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)
    Probabilistic-based synthesis of animal vocalizations
  • Sarah Angliss (composer, roboticist and sound historian, London)
  • Rob Lachlan (Queen Mary University of London)
    Analysing the evolution of complex vocal traits: song learning precision and syntax in chaffinches
  • Alan McElligott (Queen Mary University of London)
    Mammal vocalisations: from quality to emotions
  • Emmanouil Benetos (City University London)
    Matrix factorization methods for environmental sound analysis


  • Acoustic 3-D tracking of cetaceans in the vicinity of tidal turbines
    Douglas Gillespie, Jamie Macaulay, Jonathan Gordon, Bernie McConnell, Carol Sparling
  • Vocal response of male serin, Serinus serinus, to interactive playback
    Ana T. Mamede
  • The Role of Form in Modelling Auditory Scene Analysis
    S. L. Denham, M. Coath, S. A. Collins
  • Quantifying difference in vocalizations of bird populations
    Colm O’Reilly
  • CHiME-Home: A Dataset for Sound Source Recognition in a Domestic Environment
    Peter Foster, Sid Sigtia, Sacha Krstulovic, Jon Barker and Mark Plumbley
  • Large-scale decline of bats and bush-crickets revealed thanks to automatic acoustic monitoring scheme.
    Yves Bas, Christian Kerbiriou, Alienor Jeliazkov, Isabelle Le Viol, Jean-François Julien.
  • Assessing snore sounds recorded in the home via smartphone
    Amy V. Beeston and Guy J. Brown
  • Automatic Acoustic Monitoring of Natural Systems: Towards the Detection and Classification of Bird Flight Calls
    Justin Salamon, Juan Pablo Bello, Andrew Farnsworth, Steve Kelling
  • Using of an iVector for Bird Identificiation on the Close Set
    Ladislav Ptacek, Zbynek Zajic, Ludek Muller
  • Dynamic Time Warping and Affinity Propagation Clustering for the categorisation of bird species: A case study
    Simone Clemente, Marco Gamba, Daniela Pessani & Livio Favaro

The sound of bees buzzing (sound recordings)


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As someone who takes sound snapshots almost as much as photos I thought it was about time I organised and shared them. I’ve upgraded this blog so that I can make use of the sound file player.

First up, bees.

Sounds inexpertly recorded on an iPhone 5S, some will need you to increase the volume a bit.

Bee recording: bees-17-may-2014-afternoon.m4a

Bee recording: bees-28-may-2015-18431.m4a

Bee recording: bee-29-may-2015-1744.m4a

Bee recording: bees-and-aircraft-5-april-2015-1539.m4a

School of Noise at the fabulous @ShuffleFestival – Sat 1 August, 12.30 – 2.30, £2


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Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 12.09.41“The SCHOOL of NOISE workshops are designed to encourage young people to explore noise, sound and music in creative, enjoyable and educational ways.

Run by a collective of musicians, sound artists and noise enthusiasts the SCHOOL of NOISE aims to make the fascinating world of experimental and electronic music increasingly accessible to young people. There is no need to have any musical experience to come along and participate in the workshop.

At the festival we will be creating a piece of music together using a range of sound making and sculpting equipment including beatboxing flowers and a choir of singing apples.”

THE MIGRATION PAVILION (number 9 on the site map)
12:30 – 2:30 PM
£2 entry for kids and big kids – please bring cash on the day

Also on Saturday 1 August in the same place, they’re showing Start Trek IV: The Voyage Home – which features an interesting manipulation of a sound recording of whales, so is fairly relevant to this blog 🙂

Here’s the full Shuffle Festival Programme. Reduced price tickets for residents of E3.

Lewisham / Blackheath / North Greenwich people – the 108 bus goes to Bow Interchange (Bus stop T, Stop ID: 72145) which is probably about a twenty minute walk to the venue (depending on how fast you walk!).

The Movies in Concert website for fans of film music live – @moviesinconcert


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I’m fairly convinced, though don’t have any stats, that there’s been a fairly large increase over the last few years in the number of concerts, talks and events for people who like hearing film music performed live and hearing from the composers who wrote it.

Living in London I’m spoiled for choice with the wonderful BAFTA Conversations with Screen Composers – a series of interviews with composers at the Royal Albert Hall. The RAH has also been increasing its programming of concerts celebrating the work of a particular film composer, including screenings of films with a live orchestra performing the music.

Movies in Concert – comprehensive worldwide listing of film music concerts

One of the best resource for film music concerts and related events around the world is the Movies in Concert website especially as anyone can submit details of a concert that’s been published on an events page.

The site is maintained by Flip Jansen & Ingmar Kohl with Elena Xalira, Nicolas Grandemange and Stefan Bosman as editors. It’s fab 🙂

I would like to encourage composers, conductors, musicians, event organisers, orchestra folk, venue staff, film music fans and anyone else to see if concerts they know of are already listed and, if not, to add them using the Submit a Concert form – and to make a note of the page for future concerts, thanks!

The site now also has a dedicated Twitter feed – @moviesinconcert – and whenever new information is added to the website, or information already there is updated, an update-tweet will be emitted automatically by the account. I created this Twitter account after spotting that they had an RSS feed, and it’s since been adopted by the site (woohoo) but I’m not affiliated with Movies in Concert.

If you’re interested in the technology behind the @moviesinconcert Twitter account (it’s not very complicated) read on, in case you want to set up something similar.

Turning website RSS updates into tweets – How to do this

Movies in Concert, like many sites, has an RSS feed already set up for its updates – you can use an RSS reader to follow these (a bit similar to signing up for email updates). It’s also quite straightforward to set things up so that each new update is turned into a tweet that anyone on Twitter can follow. There’s a great little website called IF This Then That (IFTTT) which will do it for you.

All you need is

  • an input – an RSS feed, Movies in Concert currently has four RSS feeds (ALL, Europe only, N America only, Rest of World)
  • an output – a spare Twitter account

To make your own Twitter feed based on an RSS feed you can use an IFTTT recipe that converts RSS feed items into tweets, it’s called RSS to Twitter.

The steps are

  1. Create your spare Twitter account and log in
  2. Create an IFTTT account and log in there too
  3. While logged into both IFTTT and Twitter go to https://ifttt.com/twitter and activate Twitter as a channel (this will be your output) you probably won’t need to activate RSS as a separate channel but just in case its https://ifttt.com/feed

This is the specific recipe I used, adapted from the RSS to Twitter specifically for @moviesinconcert, you’re welcome to use it but note that there’s no particular benefit in recreating the same feed as it already exists!

Here’s what it looks like under the bonnet with the RSS feed as the ‘trigger’ causing the action of sending out a tweet. I’ve added the hashtag #filmmusic and asked the recipe to publish this along with the title of the update from Movies in Concert along with the address (Entry URL) and the first line of the page.

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If you click into the lower box it looks like this and you can click on the blue ‘science flask’ icon to change the options, this will change what the tweets look like.

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