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Editor and Webmaster for

Cynthia M. Grund


Please note that this is the way the website for 



Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics


appeared as of June 30, 2014, the concluding date for the period during which the network was funded by NordForsk 2010-2014. Founded in 2007, NNIMIPA was initially funded by NordPlus. This website was started in February 2010 while NNIMIPA was still a NordPlus network, and it contains extensive documentation of the activities within NNIMIPA from its inception in 2007 until the final date for the NordForsk grant in June 2014.

     The contacts that were established among researchers in the Nordic area and beyond through NNIMIPA have resulted in myriad cooperative research efforts. A significant number of these activities continue to be documented on the website which you  are most welcome to visit.


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Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics


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Friday, July 1, 2011


Day One of the Inaugural Annual Conference of the RMA-MPSG. NNIMIPA delegate Helga Rut Guðmundsdóttir (University of Iceland) chairs the session Philosophy and Performance 11:30-13:00 in Lecture Theatre S-1.06 during which NNIMIPA-delegate Søren. R. Frimodt-Møller (U. of Southern Denmark) presents 'Norms, goals and group consciousness: rethinking the dynamics of a musical performance' and NNIMIPA-delegate Stefan Östersjö (Lund U./Orpheus Institute, Gent) presents 'Musical listening: the function of openness and the "horizon of the question” in the interaction between musicians'. NNIMIPA delegate David Hebert (Grieg Academy, Bergen University College) chairs the discussion forum Chinese opera, Chinese philosophy 16:00-17:00 in the Anatomy Theatre. Please see the RMA-MPSA conference program for details.


Saturday, July 2, 2011


Day Two of the Inaugural Annual Conference of the RMA-MPSG. NNIMIPA delegate Tere Vadén (U. of Tampere) presents 'Music as symbols: how corrupted is it? ' as the second speaker during the session Ethical Perspectives 14:15-15:15 in the St Davids Room and NNIMIPA delegates Cynthia M. Grund (U. of Southern Denmark) and – via Skype – William Westney  (Texas Tech University) present 'Pathways to authenticity in operatic interpretation' in the Anatomy Theatre 15:30-16:15. Please see the RMA-MPSA conference program for details.



Sunday, July 3, 2011, 10:00-14:00.

NNIMIPA Network Meeting

St Davids Room, King's College London.

All are welcome!





Welcoming Remarks


Cynthia M. Grund

Associate Professor; Institute of Philosophy, Education and the Study of Religions, University of Southern Denmark (SDU)

Chief Coordinator for NNIMIPA and NNIMIPA-coordinator for SDU; NordForsk Project Manager



 ´Art Music´ and the ´Beauty of Technical Imperfection´: Amateur Choral Members' Perceptions on Aesthetic Issues in Performance

 The Case of an Amateur Bach Choir Performing
Bach´s Mass in B Minor

Sigrún Lilja Einarsdóttir

PhD Candidate in Sociology – University of Exeter
NNIMIPA Coordinator, Bifröst University, Iceland

This paper is based on socio-musical research carried out on one English amateur composer-oriented Bach choir in London. The research addresses amateur choristers' aesthetic experience of rehearsing and performing 'art music' and their perceptions of aesthetic issues in music performances, both from the perspective of the choristers as performers and as members of the audience. This talk will examine the attitudes of amateur choristers towards the somewhat problematic evaluation of a ´good performance´, what a good performance must deliver to the audience and how the choristers themselves experience aesthetic dimensions while participating in a performance of a large-scale choral work.

     The extent to which amateur choristers regard a 'good performance' as being dependent upon


•   musical /technical perfection

•   profundity of interpretation based on the performers‘ awareness of the historical/emotional/socio-musical context of the work

•   and the extent to which the performers actually bond with the audience duing the performance in a more personal or intimate way


will be discussed. This research is based on a single-case grounded theory research approach, using participant observation where I sang with the choir for one term (rehearsing and performing the Mass in B Minor), on semi structured, in-depth interviews with choral members and on a paper-based survey that was used in order to collect demographic information about the choir.

     Much interesting research on choir activities has been conducted (Richards & Durrant (2003), Bailey and Davidson (2005), Pitts (2005), Finnegan (1989), Hennion, but to my knowledge no research involving the direct participation of the researcher has been done at this point. Much has been written about Bach´s life and compositions, but no sociological research specifically aimed at Bach choirs and/or the performance of Bach´s large scale choral works from a socio-musical perspective has been carried out.

     In this presentation I will use the concept of taste as performance (Hennion and Fauquet, 2004) to argue whether participation in a composer-oriented choir indicates a certain stage of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1984) and how it affects the aesthetic perceptions of the choristers. The theory of John Dewey´s 'art as experience' (1980) and some issues regarding aesthetical boundaries separating professional from amateur music performances (Aristotle and Plato, Abraham (1974); Durrant & Himonides (1998)) will be discussed and demonstrated. This talk will conclude with an examination of how these boundaries are drawn with reference to the canonic values of the Western music tradition.




 Musical Gestures and Musical Embodiment among Infants in a Musical-Social Context

Helga Rut Guðmundsdóttir

Associate Professor, University of Iceland (UI)

NNIMIPA Coordinator, UI


Music classes for infants with parents have become a widespread practice in many countries during the last two decades. Not many studies have been conducted on the phenomenon of parent-infant music courses and little is known about the direct effects of participation in such programs. There are some indications that parent-infant music courses may affect the participating parents' well-being. The effects of music courses on infants' behavior and learning remains to be explored, however.

     From previous studies it is known that infants are discriminative listeners and learners of music. Remarkably early in life, infants seem to process and internalize the tonal, melodic and rhythmic  information presented in music. Studies have reported musical behavior in infants in the home, interacting with parents and caregivers, and in nursery settings. Attention of researchers has to a lesser extent been directed towards infants’ musical or participatory behavior in parent-infant music classes.

    The present study investigated the behavior of 8-9-month-old infants during ten music classes taught over a period of 5 weeks. Each class was videotaped from different angles with four cameras. The video recordings were categorized according to the ongoing activities. Then, selected activities were analyzed and coded according to the type of behavior elicited by the infants. The validity of the categorization was tested with a panel of independent judges. The repertoire of infant-gestures, when music was present, was catalogued and compared with infant-gestures when music was not present.

    In this paper, the concept of musical gestures in infants will be explored in terms of theories on music and embodiment. Embodiment of music has been explored in earlier research in the context of dancers and music teachers. Empirical evidence of embodiment of rhythm has also been found in 6-month-old infants. The aim of the present paper is to shed light on musical embodiment among infants in a musical-social context.




Implications of Current Debates in the Philosophy of History for the Study of Historical Ethnomusicology


 David G. Hebert


Grieg Academy, Faculty of Education

Bergen University College

NNIMIPA Coordinator, GA-BUC

Across recent decades, historical ethnomusicology has been widely identified as a significant emerging subfield of ethnomusicology, and an active special interest group has been established by international scholars with an interest in global music history. The purpose of this paper is to consider some current issues and debates in the philosophy of history with implications for such international-comparative historical research on music. Several issues surround the notion of narrative within scientific forms of history, to which Hayden White has offered especially provocative and compelling contributions. At the most fundamental level of personal narrative – how we explain the story of our own lives to others – our perceptions are shaped by the impulse to rationalize retrospectively, which is why contemporary historians are increasingly interested in detailed discussion of the accumulation and interpretation of data as opposed to direct assertions regarding past events. We tend to see what we are encouraged to notice, which applies not only to the practice of magic but also to propaganda and more subtle forms of ideology. Historical theorist Aviezar Tucker argues that “scientific history”, rather than being a study of past events is actually the study of how evidence accumulates and progressive interpretations are proposed regarding the past. Simon Kaye identifies three common assumptions of traditional historiography that may arguably be prevented through transparent inclusion of “counterfactualist” narratives, meaning creative accounts that openly postulate possible outcomes had something occurred differently in the past: (1) indispensability, (2) causality, and (3) inevitability. I assert that counterfactualist accounts are likely to play an increasingly prominent role in future musical representations due to the new possibilities of “wikification” and “virtuality” afforded by recent digital technologies. Another related topic is the highly contested notion of “decanonization” in the sphere of musical knowledge. As Christopher Wilkinson explains in the book De-Canonizing Music History, we must admit that traditional “music history”, from the perspective of contemporary philosophy of history, has tended to be rather simplistic and misleading in its omissions, and I argue that the extent of this problem is comparable even to military history, which one might assume to be more inextricably linked to nationalistic politics and therefore saturated with bias. Wilkinson’s analysis of Donald J. Grout’s music history textbook demonstrates an arguably unbalanced fundamental narrative in what has been the most influential music history book among university music students in the United States for several decades. As discussed comparatively across three nations in my chapter from the same volume, the issue of disjunctures in historiography, or gaps in historical narrative also calls for systematic analysis in relation to “the notion of ‘replaceability,’ or whether trajectories would likely have changed had particular events not occurred or had they taken place within different power structures.” Finally, some ethical issues to be opened for brief discussion in this paper include judicious approaches to the exposure of both misinformation and unbalanced interpretations in cultural memory, perennial challenges of cultural translation, and the extent to which deceased musicians may still be afforded certain rights to privacy.



A Program of Practice-based Research Designed to Examine Listener Reaction to Olivier Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus


Morten Heide
Pianist and Choral Director, member of NNIMIPA representing The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark (AMDA), Odense, Denmark


Messiaen's purpose for writing music was essentially a simple one. As he wrote, "My faith is the grand drama of my life. I'm a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith. I give bird songs to those who dwell in cities and have never heard them, make rhythms for those who know only military marches or jazz, and paint colours for those who see none".
      Messiaen's devotion to Catholicism is evinced in his writing and in the manner in which he provided titles for his compositions. A non-believer myself, it fascinates me that when I perform – as I have in several concerts - or listen to Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus I feel a kind of spiritual devotion and devoutness akin to that of a religious person that no other composer's music has managed to evoke in me. During the winter 2011 I  recorded the complete cycle as part of a larger project involving practice-based research.  Reflection upon the ongoing process of rehearsing and preparing for the recording sessions has shed further light upon the elements in Messiaen's musical language that make such a strong impact not only on me but certainly also on many others who listen to Messiaen's music. In my ongoing investigation I am attempting to come closer to the core of what it is in Messiaen's music that often evokes such a sensation of spirituality even among non-believers.
     Theoretical and methodological issues which need to be addressed in a study such as this one will be raised and discussed during the presentation, and exemplifying material from Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus will be performed.


12:00-12:20 Break


12:20-12.30 Brief report from Dāvis Ozoliņš and Josue Moreno (both representing The Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland), regarding the work they did in March at the fourM's Laboratory at the University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway on behalf of NNIMIPA.



Music Listening from an Ecological Perspective


Anders Friberg

Associate Professor, Speech, Music and Hearing, KTH, Stockholm

NNIMIPA Coordinator, KTH


In ecological acoustics there has been an emphasis on everyday listening, meaning that we normally analyze sounds in our environment with regard to the source properties rather than the quality of the sound itself (i.e. Gaver, 1993). This is quite natural considering that the human perceptual system always tries to understand and categorize sensory input.

     As shown in several studies we can estimate the source properties from the sound regarding physical properties of the objects, such as size and material (Giordano and McAdams, 2006). This type of perception is evident for environmental sounds, but is the same mechanism also active in music listening? If we extend the ecological approach to humans the answer is clearly yes. A person’s voice can be used for estimating features such as identity, distance, effort, and emotion. A person’s footstep sounds can be used for estimating gender and other properties (Li et al., 2006). As pointed out by Clarke (2005) it is hard to make any distinction between everyday listening and music listening. Thus, we can assume that both kinds of listening involve the same kind of perceptual processing.

We will present a broad spectrum of features related to source properties that can be motivated from an ecological/survival point-of-view and discuss their potential relevance in music listening. A tentative categorization of these features can be in terms of source separation, identification, classification (human/biological/environmental), object properties (size, distance, direction, speed, energy), and human properties (emotion, skill, sincerity/authenticity, intention).

     There has been limited empirical research directly investigating the ecological perspective in music listening. One exception is the estimation of energy. Ladefoged (1963) asked listeners to estimate the loudness of the voice using recordings of different speech utterances. The loudness estimation was found to correlate with the physical work in terms of the subglottal pressure and airflow rather than the acoustical sound level. It was later suggested that the listeners were in fact rating the effort rather than the loudness of the voice (Eriksson and Traunmüller, 2002). Energy is also indirectly coupled to dynamic level. It is easy to recognise the dynamic level of for example a piano performance from recordings regardless of the played volume. This ability will provide a better understanding of the environment since both distance and effort can be determined independently.

     We will argue that by analyzing music listening using an ecological perspective we can provide suggestions for understanding the meaning of many different musical aspects ranging from instrumental sounds and melody to motion and emotion.




Auditory Memory Model for Feature Estimation
Kristoffer Jensen
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University Esbjerg
NNIMIPA Coordinator, Aalborg University Esbjerg


Audio feature estimation involves measuring key characteristics from the audio. It is possible to estimate features using an auditory memory model. In order to do so, an onset detection is necessary to identify new audio components to insert into the auditory memory, and an algorithm is necessary to combine the characteristics of the current interval with the characteristics of the audio components in the auditory memory. The auditory memory model mimics the attention process, and the storing, retrieval and forgetting processes. The feature estimation using the auditory memory model has been applied to the estimation of sensory dissonance. The feature estimation using the memory model is an important step in the improvement of the accuracy of feature estimation. Furthermore, the dissonance values are together with the characteristics of the auditory memory to be of interest in music categorization.
     It is believed that feature estimation using the auditory memory model will bring the field significantly forward. The details of the auditory memory model consists of two parts. The onset detection can be compared to the attention human beings pay to the sound. The memory model is based on the knowledge of the short-term memory, and contains a homogenous decay and displacement mechanism that calculates the activation strength of the components in the auditory memory as a function of the number of components in the memory model, and the total duration of the model. The memory model mimics the storing, retrieval and forgetting of the human auditory short-term memory.
     Based on experiments, it is has been shown that the number of elements and duration behaves in a manner that is compatible with the human auditory short-term memory in the current state of knowledge.
     As the sensory dissonance is shown to be additive for partials in the same time frame, it is here modeled additively also for the partials that belong to the auditory components in the memory. These partials are thus modeled as giving rise to beats together with the partials in the current time frame. The resulting sensory dissonance is shown to be more smooth, and as having a larger magnitude.
     Both the characteristics of the auditory memory model, with regard to the duration and number of components, and the sensory dissonance calculated using the model, are shown to be informative regarding the song from which the features are obtained. For instance, pop songs typically contains more auditory components in the memory model, and jazz songs have longer durations of the memory. Furthermore, the dissonance of the pop songs is much higher than the dissonance of the jazz songs. It seems promising to use the auditory memory model, and the sensory dissonance calculated using it, for music information retrieval purposes.
     It has furthermore been shown that the sensory dissonance calculated using the auditory memory model performs significantly better than the sensory dissonance calculated without the memory model when compared to human dissonance assessment. Finally, a discussion of key elements regarding our knowledge of human memory shows the further perspectives of this approach.




Soundmapping the Genes

Fredrik Søegaard

Assistant Professor, The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark (AMDA)

NNIMIPA Coordinator, AMDA


SOMATHEGE is a research project working with the use of biological data in musical composition and improvisation. A specially developed MIDI interface translates the complete genetic code of the H1 histonin protein of the rainbow trout. This interface can produce a melody from the code but it can also act as a controller of electronic music-equipment. The projects output is presented in an ongoing series of concerts and the project has also been subject to several trans-disciplinary workshops, where SOMATHEGE has been discussed by various boards consisting of biologists, musicians, datalogists, philosophers, etc.

      A research report describing the translation and background has appeared in JMM:Journal of Music and Meaning at Here is the introduction from that research report:


“Art is the sedimentation of human misery.” (Adorno 2004).

The above remark by Adorno implies that art has its own way of preserving human experience, using a metaphor from geology and zoology, as well as its own languages for so doing (painting, musicmaking, sculpturing, etc).

Biology also has its own way of preserving some of the information about living beings and a language for so doing – the DNA coding sequences present in all biological beings.

SMTG is a project involving music composition and improvisation based on biological data – the complete DNA genetic code of the H1 Histonine protein of the rainbow trout.

Nature has always been one of the dominant aesthetic ideals for artists of any art form. Painters have used nature in their work from cave paintings up until our day, and composers and musicians have dedicated numerous works to the celebration of nature (see Adorno 2004).

In music, however, there is an ongoing discussion regarding exactly how nature is relevant in a musical context. What does a sunset sound like? Or a sea?

In 1986 Japanese-American Biologist Susumu Ohno from the Beckman Research Institute of The City of Hope, Duarte, California, created a system for composing music from DNA code sequences, transcribing the four nucleotides into the diatonic scale according to a set of rules formulated by Ohno (Ohno 1986). SMTG is a contemporary project in this tradition, using the DNA coding sequence from one protein of the rainbow trout to form e.g. the melodic structure, the rhythmic, the dynamic, etc. Structures in the 642-nucleotide-long H1 Histonine protein code sequence are transcribed into the chromatic scale and transferred into the MIDI (Musical Instruments Digital Interface) language. Thus the code sequence can be used as a chromatic melody or as MIDI information, controlling chosen musical parameters in electronic and digital environments. In this way, nature itself can appear as a ‘controller’ – via pitch or MIDI information – of the music in the form of the structural characteristics of the genetic code sequence. In addition to providing pitch information and creating melody and/or MIDI information to control electronic parameters, this complete H1 Histonine coding sequence also brings a specific form to the music, as this coding sequence is different from every other existing sequence.

Adorno, T. W. (2004). Aesthetic Theory. London and New York: Continuum.

Ohno, S. & Ohno, M. (1986). “The All Pervasive Principle of Repetitious Recurrence Governs Not Only Coding Sequence Construction but Also Human Endeavor in Musical Composition”. Immunogenetics 24, 71-78.


. . . and the music can be seen/heard on the homepage:



14:00 LUNCH


(For pdf-version of program for all NNIMIPA events,  please see here.) 



     Nordic Network for the

     Integration of

     Music Informatics,

     Performance and Aesthetics




for a four-day multi-event in London

June 30-July 3 on the occasion of the inaugural annual conference of the RMA-MPSG which will be held at King’s College London on 1-2 July 2011.

joins with