Thinktanks 2021

Overview of IPEM's Think Tanks 2021

Kelsey Onderdijk & Dana Swarbrick (RITMO) | Livestream experiments: the role of COVID-19, agency, presence, and social context in facilitating social connectedness.

Friday April 23th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

Kelsey Onderdijk (IPEM) and Dana Swarbrick (RITMO) will present their paper on three livestream concert experiments that were executed last summer. The main focus of these experiments was to explore how feelings of social connectedness can be fostered in virtual environments (i.e. livestreamed concerts), and to investigate how attending a virtual concert interacted with ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., loneliness, anxiety). Three main concepts were under investigation: agency, presence, and social context, that each required a different setup. Results provided insights into the role of parasocial interactions, music as social surrogacy, and concepts best suited to facilitate social connectedness and alleviate loneliness.

Emma Hallingham | Effects of attentional focus on motor skill performance in violin bowing

Friday March 18th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

In many ways, the study of performance psychology is more advanced in the sports’ domain than in music. One such example is understanding how the object of a performer’s focus of attention affects their motor control. Derived from evidence in sports contexts, and based on the principles of common-coding theory, the Constrained Action Hypothesis (CAH) asserts that adopting an external focus of attention (on the external goal) compared to an internal focus (on body movement) benefits motor skill performance (Wulf, 2013). Put simply, this hypothesis describes a commonly experienced phenomenon, where automatized motor skills become more difficult to execute when the performer thinks too much about how it should be done. This effect, sometimes known as “paralysis by analysis” is widely replicated in sports’ contexts, but only limited evidence exists for the effect in music performance. In this talk, I will present two experimental studies investigating how focus of attention may affect motor skill performance in violin bowing. We aimed to test the CAH in two violin-bowing tasks, and to further test a novel “somatic” focus (proximal external) on tactile sensory feedback through the bow. Measuring performance parameters at the physiological (electromyography), physical (motion capture), and acoustical (music information retrieval) levels, we observed improvements to motor performance under the somatic (tactile feedback) focus compared to the internal (arm movement) focus, but no improvements under the distal external (sound) focus. Some, but not all effects were moderated by expertise. Results partly support the CAH, but further suggest that attention to tactile sensations may act as a superior external focus in the contexts of these particular technical bowing tasks. I will discuss implications for teaching, performance practice, and motor performance theory.

Emma Allingham is a PhD researcher in the ERC-project SloMo, led by Prof. Dr. Clemens Wöllner at the University of Hamburg. She holds a Bachelor of Music with honours in classical violin performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and a Master’s in Music, Mind, and Technology from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Emma also has several years’ experience working as a freelance violinist and violin teacher.

Meeting the researchers: IPEM, MAXlab and CREATIE

Friday March 12th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

MAXlab, a research group at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, focuses on the interaction between art and digital technology, examining how digital techniques can expand the toolbox of the artist and confirming the artist in the role of observer who reflects through the art practice on the rapidly evolving technology and the social transformation that goes with it.

CREATIE, a research group at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, hosts a group of performing, interdisciplinary researchers, and encourages them to create outside the known boundaries of their discipline, using multi-media and digital tools, with a specific focus on accessibility and inclusion.
Both research groups collaborate on their mutual and ongoing research around (hybrid) digital events, with specific focus on an autonomous digital experience and dynamic interaction.

During this session, chairs Kristof Timmerman (MAXlab) and Ine Vanoeveren (CREATIE) will present the research projects of their groups, with the goal of connecting researchers from both IPEM and the Schools of Arts Antwerp.

Kristof Timmerman is chairman and coordinator of MAXlab, the research group on the interaction between art and digital technology of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. As a promoter and researcher, he is involved in various research projects on virtual and augmented reality, often in a multidisciplinary context. He is affiliated with the Immersive Lab of the AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts and annually organizes the summer school 'Storytelling in Virtual Reality. An Immersive Encounter'.
Timmerman studied Product Development, Theater Science and Film and Video Art. He worked for several theater companies, including the experimental company CREW and founded the artist collective Studio POC, which produces digital art projects.
Belgian flutist and Doctor of Musical Arts, Ine Vanoeveren, is specialized in the music of Brian Ferneyhough. She obtained a DMA in Contemporary Music Performance in the class of Prof. John Fonville, at the University of California, San Diego. Ine won awards at the Action Classics Competition, Benelux Fluitconcours and was rewarded with a Belgian American Educational Foundation grant in 2013 and the Kranichsteiner Stipendienpreise for Interpretation by the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt in 2016.
She is currently teaching contemporary flute at the Conservatoire Royal de Liège, chair of CREATIE and professor for Creative Project and interdisciplinary work at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. Ine is a welcome guest speaker at international conferences and universities. In 2018, she published her first book, Tomorrow’s Music in Practice Today.


Bavo van Kerrebroeck | A Methodological Framework for Assessing Social Presence in Music Interactions in Virtual Reality

Friday March 5th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent


In this talk, we introduce a methodological framework to operationalize social presence by a combination of factors across interrelated layers, relating to the performance output, embodied co-regulation, and subjective experiences. This framework provides the basis for a pragmatic approach to determine the level of social presence in virtual musical interactions, by comparing the outcomes across the multiple layers with the outcomes of corresponding real-life musical interactions. We applied and tested this pragmatic approach via a case study of piano duet performances of the piece Piano Phase composed by Steve Reich. This study indicated that a piano duet performed in VR, in which the real-time interaction between pianists is mediated by embodied avatars, can lead to a strong feeling of social presence, as reflected in the measures of performance output, embodied co-regulation and subjective experience. In contrast, although a piano duet in VR between an actual pianist and a computer-controlled agent led to a relatively successful performance output, it was inadequate both in terms of embodied co-regulation and subjective experience.

Andréia Vieira Abdelnur Camargo and Adriaan Campo | A descriptive study about self-entrainment and cross-modality between dance and music through examples of Brazilian Traditional Dances

Friday February 26th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

The present study is one of the results of the scholar internship in IPEM, during 2020-2021, with a grant from CAPES- Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, in Brazil. In this think-tank presentation, I will focus on the second part of the research, which is still ongoing and will be carried on after my return to Brazil. The Brazilian popular traditional culture gathers various manifestations in which dance and music are intertwisted. Since childhood, popular artists in Brazil learn how to sing, play, and move their bodies simultaneously, throughout a cross-modal process of coupling dance and music. Furthermore, the popular performers usually dance, sing, clap, or play instruments in such a way they need to balance their intra-individual energy in order to coordinate different skills. More than an aesthetic feature, these modes of operation announce an ecological perspective in which distinct domains have been building an integrated repertoire of steps, movements, rhythms, and songs. The present study consists of 1-recording five different Brazilian dances along with simultaneously played songs and percussion, through the motion capture technology synchronized with audio capture; 2-analyzing how the performer synchronizes the dance steps with singing and playing percussion instruments. Based on the analyses of the recordings, we aim to carry out a description of the selected dances, considering the behavior of the performer in the task of synchronizing sound and movement in each dance, highlighting the intra-individual entrainment and the inter-limb coordination (Clayton, 2005). We expect that this study could contribute to further investigations on cross-modality between dance and music as well as on self-entrainment discussions either in Dance or Musicology fields.

Thomas Moors | An arts based approach to enhancing quality of life after laryngectomy

Friday February 26th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

Laryngectomy is the surgical removal of the voice box, usually performed in patients with highly developed stages of throat cancer. The psychosocial impact of losing the voice is significant, affecting a person's professional and social life in a devastating way. It should be no surprise that patients often fall prey to social isolation and depression. We developed workshops using a variety of voice exercises that are fun and interactive to improve speech recovery, in combination with writing exercises (Spoken Word) and group conversations to help communicate, share and discuss lived challenges and people’s psychological well-being after laryngectomy. Our group of participants shared a plethora of interesting topics and valuable insights into how their condition has affected their psychosocial life. The discourse also involves challenges faced by negative perceptions in the wider society, primarily based on the lack of understanding and lack of education about laryngectomy and laryngectomees. During the first part of the presentation a creative praxis of qualitative research enquiry will be shared in the translation of our workshops into a narrative of testimonials and poetry that explain the landscape of life after laryngectomy. In doing so, we aspire to engage with a broader audience. Through this creative outlet, our research participants become the performative protagonists that recite their own shared stories in musical synergy with professional artists.
The second part will be an outline of how this project could be translated into a PhD, followed by an open discussion.

Thomas Moors is a Belgian medical doctor (UGent), based in London, with a special interest in voice and the integration of art into healthcare. He has built up substantial professional networks internationally across research, medicine, healthcare and the arts. In 2015 he founded Shout at Cancer, the only charity in the world specialising in speech recovery and social reintegration after laryngectomy, the surgical removal of the voice box. He received the Points of Light Award from the British Prime Minister in 2017 for his charitable work and achievements. Shout at Cancer was nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2021 (equivalent to The Order of Leopold II (BE)). His mission is to bring positive attention towards small and scattered groups of individuals affected by less common health issues, who are therefore overlooked in research and our society.

Nadav Katan | Towards Principles of Embodied Musical Gestalt

Friday February 12th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

Informed Phrasingis an artistic, doctoral research project that explores the analysis-practice relationship as an artistic mode of interaction. Central in my approach to the analysis-practice relationship is designing the analytical orientation according to fundamental objectives of musical performance. Thus, instead of 'importing' to performance a set of pre-established analytical conceptions (that, in many cases, were formulated based on musical symbols, rather than on actual sounds), I advocate a 'performatively informed' analytical approach in which the performer collects analytical components that specifically address her/his performative objectives and transforms these to operate in a performative-interactive process and setting (at the instrument and through performance).

Within this framework, conceiving of 'phrasing' as "...the joining of notes into phrases and the separation of these phrases from each other" (Rothstein, 1989) naturally leads to the consideration of Temporal Gestalt Psychology. However, the fundamental Gestalt grouping principles are formulated as rules of disembodied perceptual organization, and from the listener's perspective. Yet, drawing on IPEM publications, as well as on my personal experimentations, the performer's perceptual organization is significantly conditioned by the physical mechanisms that are entailed in the act of sound production. Accordingly, bringing the Gestalt grouping principle up-to-date, in this respect, is a crucial objective of my research project.

In this presentation I will briefly present my research project and share my intuitions towards a set of principles of 'embodied musical Gestalten' and call for interdisciplinary collaborations, aspiring to transform these intuitions into knowledge.

Nadav Katan is an Israeli pianist and artistic researcher.

Nadav has completed his Bachelor's degree in piano performance at the Buchman-Mehta School of Music, Tel Aviv University in 2015, in the class of Prof. Asaf Zohar, and his Master's degree in piano performance at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in 2017, in the class of Prof. Naum Grubert and Prof. Jan Wijn.

Currently, Nadav is an artistic researcher at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, conducting an artistic Ph.D. on the 'analysis-practice relationship' in collaboration with Antwerp University, the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, Orpheus Institute in Ghent, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Henk Jacobs | Ik hoor u graag

Friday January 15th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

‘Ik hoor u graag’ is the title of my PhD trajectory and it is about product binding that we have with some pieces of music.
My name is Henk Jacobs, I was born in 1953 and just started a PhD program. I am an industrial engineer by profession and as such have worked in various positions at various companies. But my whole life I have been into music. Not only have I played the saxophone for many years, but I am driven by the question: ‘I wanted to learn at all costs what a favourite piece of music was 'in itself', by what essential feature it was to be distinguished from the community of pieces. Has it a ‘genius of its own’ or not? To deepen my knowledge of this issue, I started studying Musicology at Utrecht University. After the bachelor, the study continued at the University of Amsterdam. The master in cognitive musicology was completed a few months ago. By now I have found something of the beginning of an answer to my question, but there is still a long way to go. A path as a PhD trajectory.
The subject of the PhD is the product binding that we have with some pieces of music. They are the favourites you love to hear. Product binding is a marketing term and concerns the affective relationship we have with some products. Affect is not the same as either emotions or desires. Affect is closely tied to what we often describe as the feeling of life. Some things, such as music, inflect affect and gives colour to our experiences. With these things we have affective relations. They give you a ‘feelgood feeling’, you feel at ease, they provide psychological comfort, they bring a sense of satisfaction. What I have found so far is that the ‘feelgood feeling’ someone has with a piece of music is mainly determined by experiencing one or more 'musical moments'. The only description I could find of the musical moment is: “If our brain flits over any part of the music, we are captured by it, and must play it forth to a point of rest. So we constantly have a sense of being gripped, even unwillingly, by the tune. This is The Musical Moment”, said Elizabeth Margulis.
The importance of the musical moment for product binding is mainly based on considerations. My exploratory master's research supports these considerations. To my knowledge, a large-scale investigation has never taken place. This brings us to the first study, an online survey to the importance of the Musical Moment. The second study is a laboratory study in which the affective and emotion response over time is measured to self chosen favourite music. These data are evaluated (Kano model, marketing) with the test subjects to gain insight into their preferred musical qualities (auditory schemata). The third study, entitled affective evaluation, focuses on the interaction between cold and hot cognition (analogous to Broekx's Muziek. Ratio en Affect) at the lowest level of consciousness.
But first, I will be doing a literature study in the coming year. Because I am at the beginning of a process, I do not yet have detailed plans of action. I would like to share my ideas and am open to all critical questions, comments, and suggestions that I can take advantage of.

Lousin Moumdjian & Mattia Rosso | The continued story line of auditory-motor coupling in neurological rehabilitation of multiple sclerosis and beyond.

Friday January 29th at 13.30, online IPEM UGent

The use of auditory stimuli, such as music or metronomes have properties that are beneficial for neurological rehabilitation purposes. In our previous work, specific to the use of auditory stimuli during walking, we hypothesised that the resulting interaction of the so-called auditory-motor coupling termed entrainment influences a person’s abilities for walking, and the results were presented in the form of my PhD.
Naturally, the story did not end there, as solving certain questions resulted in asking many many others. To tackle those questions that intrigued me the most, a few experiments were designed. During this think tank, I aim to shed a light on these different experiments that I am working on together with the core team of Mattia, Bart and Edith, to answer the underlying objectives per experiment.
This introduction will follow by zooming in on one of the two methodological solutions that we have developed in order to realise the studies mentioned above. That is the use of EEG, to compute a component of a neural outcome measure of auditory-motor coupling(/entrainment), which would optimally be complement its behavioural counterparts. For the former, Mattia will further zoom into the computational of this component in the context of a validity study we are now engaged in using his database. This outcome is the key link of combining the behavioural approach I undertake with neurophysiological approaches.
On a side note, the second methodological salutation was to integration of the EEG and the D-jogger, however, this part is out of the scope of the current think.

Lousin Moumdjian & Marc Leman | Embodied learning in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis using melodic, sound and visual real-time feedback: a clinical and a predictive viewpoint.

Friday February 19th at 14.00, online IPEM UGent

Given the prevalence of motor and cognitive functions in persons with multiple sclerosis and that these functions can be either maintained or improved, we proposed that the theoretical framework of embodied theory could bridge the niche in current rehabilitation of these symptoms. Consequently, we developed an environment – the augmented movement platform for embodied learning (AMPEL) - in order to apply an experimental paradigm, to test our notion of embodiment in the context of rehabilitation in PwMS. We thereby aimed to investigate embodied learning on AMPEL, with a task consisting of learning a cognitive sequence while performing it through bodily movement under three feedback conditions compared to healthy controls. Within the context of embodied learning, we also aimed to investigate if balance and information processing speed are factors which effected the motor and cognitive performances. We hypothesised, that will find a superior cognitive performance in healthy controls as compared to PwMS, given the prevalence of the cognitive and motor impairments in the MS population. Nevertheless, we also assumed that PwMS would be able to learn the cognitive sequence within this embodied task, firstly because of their intactencoding and storage capacity, and secondly due to the embodied context, as a result of the bidirectional complementary interaction of the motor and cognitive systems. Furthermore, we explored if learning can be predicted during the learning process in our participants, given factors such as their age, balance and information processing speed.