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


























Network Coordinator,


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 www.soundmusicresearch.org which you  are most welcome to visit.


(For Google Calendar, please see HERE.)



News Archive







October 14, 2013

Music, Movement and the Brain 


A pdf version of the program for NNIMIPA events available for download here.


NNIMIPA (http://www.nnimipa.org/) is organizing a satellite workshop during the 2013 CMMR meeting. The theme of the workshop is Music, Movement and the Brain. This workshop will feature papers, a research project within NNIMIPA, a panel and tutorials. It is the goal of NNIMIPA to organize this session so that the combined themes of movement and the brain provide a context for deeper discussion of how thinking and movement are related in the performance of music.

   For more information about CMMR 2013, please consult the CMMR webpage at: cmmr2013.cnrs-mrs.fr.


10:00-10:20 Presentation of NNIMIPA (http://www.nnimipa.org/)

Cynthia M. Grund, http://www.cynthiamgrund.dk/


10.20-10.40 Presentation of TRA (http://www.soundmusicresearch.org/TRA.htm)

William Westney, http://www.depts.ttu.edu/music/Faculty/WilliamWestney.asp


10.40-11.20 Motion Capture Tutorial with James Yang.


11.20-11.40 Coffee Break


11.40-12.20 fMRI Tutorial with Michael O'Boyle


12.20-13.20 Lunch


13.20-13.50 Panel - Music, Movement and the Brain


13:50-15:10 NNIMIPA paper presentations

13:50-14:10 Anemone G. W. Van Zijl. Thoughts in Concert: Sound, Movement, and Perception
14:10-14:30 Mika Sihvonen. Mobile Video as a Tool for Music Education
14:30-14:50 Sigrún Lilja Einarsdóttir. Choral Capital and Choral Identity in the Academic Context: The Oxford Choral Scholars
14:50-15:10 Helga Rut Gudmundsdóttir and Sandra Trehub. Pitch Analysis of Infants’ and Toddlers’ Songs and Adults' Ability to Recognize Young Children’s Attempts at Song Singing without Understanding the Words (Presented by Helga Rut Gudmundsdóttir)

15.10-15.30 Coffee Break


15:30-17:00 NNIMIPA paper presentations 15.30-15.50 Søren R. Frimodt-Møller. Collaborative Composition Processes in Online Environments
15.50-16.30 Kristoffer Jensen and David Hebert. Use of Large Data Sets to Examine Relationships Between Music and Society: Methodological Issues in Some Ongoing Studies
16.30-16.50 Barry Eaglestone. Composition Software Research: Reflections on Creativity - or Thinking Outside the Box

17.00-18.00 NNIMIPA administrative meeting



Cynthia M. Grund

Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark (SDU); Chief Coordinator for NNIMIPA and NNIMIPA-coordinator for SDU; NordForsk Project Manager

Presentation of NNIMIPA  


As we commence a day of fascinating presentations, I will offer an overview of NNIMIPA's development as a forum for networked research. This will include contextualiation of lectures we will hear today and some glimpses into the future work of the network. 


William Westney
Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Piano and Browning Artist-in-Residence, School of Music, Texas
Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA; Hans Christian Andersen Guest Professorial Fellow at SDU
2009-2010; NNIMIPA delegate representing the University of Southern Denmark

Presentation of TRA


In this brief presentation I will delineate the genesis and context of an experimental project being carried out by a research team in which I am collaborating with Cynthia M. Grund, Michael O'Boyle, and James Yang. Aspects of the project will be explained, including the sponsoring organization (TRA: The Transdisciplinary Research Academy at Texas Tech University), the hypotheses that underlie the research, and the methodology we followed.


Tutorials: Motion Capture and fMRI measures of “Technical” and “Expressive” Piano Performance.


James Yang

James Yang, Assistant Professor and Director, Human-Centric Design Research Laboratory. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Motion Capture Tutorial



When a piano player performs a piece of music, what is the optimal body motion to achieve positive audience response and self-satisfaction with ones performance? Due to human anthropometric variability, different piano players will have different body motion when playing the same piece. Thus, it is often difficult for a piano instructor to provide guidance to piano students on how to perform “best”. Also, when teachers micro-manage students with too many detailed physical instuctions, the results can be less than effective. 

   Motion capture systems have been extensively used in biomechanics, sports, ergonomics, and other fields to record human kinematics data. Motion capture is also a useful tool for studying the effects of body motion on piano performance. In our study, optical markers were attached to human body parts to track their motion during piano performances. The motion capture system records the location of each body part (or related parts) during movement.  We asked piano players to perform a specific piece of music in both a “technical” and an “enjoyment” mode. “Technical” mode was defined as playing a given piece without adding any personal style, and emphasizing its technical correctness. The “Enjoyment” mode was defined as allowing the performer to play the piece with the primary intention of simply enjoying him- or herself.  By analyzing the motion capture data we could compare body part movement differences (e.g., joint angle differences in the wrist when performing in the two modes) with the idea that playing in the enjoyment mode would result in more body and limb movement with freer amplitude and flow, which in turn contributes to enhanced piano performance.   


Michael O'Boyle

Associate Dean for Research, College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

fMRI Tutorial


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a technique in which a strong magnetic field and radio waves are used to detect oxygenated blood-flow to various parts of the brain when a subject is engaged in some form of mental activity. As mentioned previously, in our study we created motion capture videos of piano performances played under technical or expressive instructional sets and measured the degree of movement of various body parts under each performance condition. Not only were these motion capture videos subjected to quantitative movement analysis, but we subsequently presented these videos to musician and non-musician participants while they were in the fMRI brain scanning environment. We asked these individuals to simply attend to the videos (informing them that the “stick figures” displayed were real humans playing the piano) and asked them to respond (on a scale of 1-7) to a set of 12 questions regarding the videos they saw (e.g., “I am confident that the performer is female; the piece was well played and held my attention”, etc.).  The notion here was to reveal the brain regions that were activated in both musicians and non-musician participants when viewing these motion captured performances. We anticipated that the piano pieces played in the "enjoyment" mode would activate emotional and reward centers in the brain of observers to a greater extent than those played under the “technical” instructional set, thus confirming the pedagogical notion that playing in the "enjoyment" mode results in “better” musical performance. Preliminary analyses of these data are consistent with this hypothesis. We also analyzed the brain activation associated with responding to each of the questions asked to examine the brain circuitry that is involved in the evaluation of these musical performances by observers, again with an expectation that pieces performed under the enjoyment instructional set would evoke more positive (and more confident) judgments.


Anemone G. W. Van Zijl

Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Thoughts in Concert: Sound, Movement, and Perception


Performing  musicians  face  the  question  of  how  to  best  achieve  an  expressive performance. Should they, for instance, feel the emotions present in the music, or should  they rather  rely  on  the  use  of  appropriate  technical  means,  such  as tempo, dynamics, articulation, and timbre? Moreover, does their focus have an effect on the characteristics and  perception of their performances?  
   To investigate the effect of performers’ focus on their performances, eight violinists were asked to play the same musical phrase in response to three different instructions. The first instruction was to focus on the technical aspects of playing. The second instruction was to give an expressive performance. Following a sadness-inducing mood induction task, the third instruction was to play while focusing on felt emotions. High quality audio and three-dimensional motion-capture recordings were made of all performances. The performances were analysed in terms of tempo, articulation, dynamics, timbre, and vibrato, as well as in terms of the amount, speed, acceleration, and smoothness of performers’ movements. Subsequently,  a  selection of  performances was presented to an audience. Thirty individuals rated how much they liked each performance, how killed they thought each performer was, and to what extent each performance was expressive of sadness.  
    Computational  analyses  of  the  audio  and  motion-­‐capture  data  revealed differences  between  performance  conditions.  Statistical  analyses  of  the perception data revealed that individuals preferred the expressive performances to the technical and emotional ones. In addition, the expressive performances were  rated  as  played  by  the  most  skilled performers. The  emotional performances were  rated  as  being  most  expressive of  sadness. The findings indicate  that  a  performer’s  focus  has  an  effect  on  the  sound,  movement,  and perception of performances.


Mika Sihvonen

Senior Researcher in The School of Information Sciences University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.

NNIMIPA Coordinator, UTA

Mobile Video as a Tool for Music Education


Analysis of music students' movements and gestures, such as finger positions, has always been an important part of the work of a music teacher. Mistakes in fingering or wrong body position are easy to spot and show to the student by means of a video clip. In addition, the terabytes of video resources on the internet can be helpful when studying how to play or sing. With regard to artistic development, young students might imitate the body gestures of their idols or study playing technique in a very detailed way.
    The instructional video has a relatively long tradition within music education technology and it has been usually been associated with robust main frame computers and professional video equipment. Today's mobile devices, however - such the smart phone and the tablet PC - might show themselves to be very useful tools in music teaching and learning. After recording a video clip with a modern mobile device, the clip can be used in many ways with regard to music learning, music teaching or participation in music culture.
    In this presentation I present several methods for utilizing mobile video as a tool for music learning. The significance of the video expression can be multifaceted with regard to the students’ or teachers’ musical comprehension. We can use it as a merely instructional tool or as a source of inspiration. Video utilized in a networked file format poses yet another challenge for music schools - when recording, sharing, storing and editing live shows.


Sigrún Lilja Einarsdóttir

Assistant professor, Bifröst University, Iceland

NNIMIPA Coordinator, Bifröst University, Iceland

Choral Capital and Choral Identity in the Academic Context: The Oxford Choral Scholars

This paper presents a prospective socio-musical study on the historic choral tradition of Oxford college choirs in a wide context. The aim of this research will be to observe the social structures, choral capital and choral identity of selected Oxford college choirs, with special emphasis on the Oxford choral scholars. The research approach consists of a multiple-case study, where the choice of 3-4 college choirs will be based on a background analysis as well as the existing historical literature on the Oxford choral tradition. This paper will thus give a short overview of the ‘state-of-the-art’ of Oxford college choirs and introduce the prospective design of the research project itself.


Helga Rut Guðmundsdóttir (and Sandra Trehub)

Associate Professor, University of Iceland (UI)

NNIMIPA Coordinator, UI

Pitch Analysis of Infants’ and Toddlers’ Songs and Adults' Ability to Recognize Young Children’s Attempts at Song Singing without Understanding the Words


There is little systematic research on singing duinrg the infant or toddler period. Nevertheless, there are claims that recognizable songs emerge between children’s first and second birthdays, a period corresponding to children’s typical progression from one-word to multi-word utterances. There are large individual differences in singing development, as there are in language development, but it is unclear whether the two domains proceed in parallel or independently. At three years of age, children rarely sing without words, and at five they typically produce the lyrics more accurately than the melody.
    Prelinguistic babbling reveals melodic aspects of the ambient language. Some scholars propose that individual differences in language acquisition reflect divergent inclinations towards words or intonation, resulting in so-called “word-babies” or “intonation-babies.” Case studies of song acquisition reveal melody-first and words-first babies, with the latter being more common. The early “words” of songs are word-like sounds that fill slots in rhythmic patterns rather than carrying referential meaning.
    The primary goal of the present study was to ascertain whether the songs of infants and toddlers (sixteen months - three years) are recognizable on the basis of melody (pitch and rhythm patterns) alone. The singing, which was recorded by parents at home, was uploaded to YouTube or sent directly to the P.I. Although the collection currently includes 300 samples in six languages, songs for the present study were restricted to those that were (a) familiar or unfamiliar to North American listeners and (b) produced by several children with foreign (not English or French) lyrics. Two songs had highly familiar melodies (Twinkle, Happy Birthday) and two had unfamiliar melodies, with each song produced by six different children.
    English- and French-speaking adults listened to the song samples (24 sung performances), naming the songs when possible and declaring them unfamiliar if not. Pitch analysis was applied to the audio files used in order to establish the size of the singing range used by the children. The results indicate that the infants and toddlers in this sample used a larger singing range than commonly reported in the literature. The adult success rate for identifying the familiar standard songs was 93% indicating that infants and toddlers in these recordings were capable of communicating the essence of a standard song even when the production was not perfect in terms of pitch and the words not comprehensible to the listeners.


Søren R. Frimodt-Møller

Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University Esbjerg
Collaborative Composition Processes in Online Environments


This presentation will discuss how the process of creating music in collaboration with others can be – and is – aided by online plaforms designated for music collaboration, as well as other more general platforms for collaborative work such as Skype, Dropbox, Google Docs etc. More specifically, it will be discussed how collaborative composing and arranging can take place when the musicians/composers are geographically dislocated, and what the open negotiation of a composition in its early non-finished stages may mean for our understanding of what a composition is. Drawing on my own expertise as a musician and music philosopher, as well as excerpts from interviews with composers and musicians, I will try in short terms to get a theoretical grasp of what constitutes a composition in Western music culture today, compared to the classical notion of a  composition as written in a creative phase prior to and isolated from rehearsals and performances.


Kristoffer Jensen and David Hebert

Kristoffer Jensen
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University Esbjerg
NNIMIPA Coordinator, Aalborg University Esbjerg, Esbjerg, Denmark

David G. Hebert
Professor, Grieg Academy, Bergen University College, Norway
NNIMIPA Coordinator, GA-BUC

Use of Large Data Sets to Examine Relationships Between Music and Society: Methodological Issues in Some Ongoing Studies


In this presentation we will discuss methodological challenges associated with exploring relationships between musical sound and social change via examination of large data sets, including computational analysis of digitized sound recordings (mp3 files) and discourse analysis of music-related text files.  In one ongoing study [Jensen & Hebert (in preparation), working title: “Harmonic Evolution Across 70 Years of American Popular Music”], we are using computational strategies to develop harmonic profiles of songs and trace tendencies in these profiles across historical time. In a related study (presented elsewhere at the present conference in Marseille), Jensen has examined trends in the volume of bass within the same data set, but as we will explain, different issues are faced when examining harmonic profiles. In another study [Hebert & Jensen (in preparation), working title: “Music-Related Discourse among American Military and Diplomatic Personnel”], we are using publicly-accessible data to determine how music is discussed among both soldiers and government officials.
   Two databases are used for these ongoing projects: (1) the American Billboard top 100 (between 1940 and 2012), and (2) the Plus-D and Afghanistan War Logs databases available on the Wikileaks website.
   Questions discussed include what is the instigator of changes in the music that are observable across time: is it more the musician/producer that creates different music, or the music listener that chooses different songs?
   The trust one ascribes to a database is dependent on the control one has upon it. In the case of the Billboard, the remixes, digitalization, etc, choice of single or not, may affect the quality of the music, the loudness, dynamics, timbre, etc. If no surety of the origin is available, a relative measure is preferable to an absolute measure, in order to even out discrepancies. In the case of Wikileaks, the files appear to constitute an ad-hoc selection of authentic material, and the possible biases of both sources and censors who seek to limit the availability of politically sensitive data must be taken into account.
   What are we seeking to understand through this pioneering research? In the case of the Billboard study, any and all information related to how we listen to and enjoy music, such as loudness, dynamics, spectrum, different harmonic and melody measures, tempos, and many other features may be of relevance when considering the evolution of popular song recordings across generations. Most of these measures are by default absolute, which makes it difficult to know if variations found in them (across time) is caused more by changes in the original music, or in the subsequent processes (digitalization, remixes, etc). In the case of the Wikileaks files, information about how music is discussed in official communications from both diplomatic and military spheres has only recently been made available with unprecedented levels of accessibility. This enables important questions to be addressed regarding the role of music in intercultural contact and the extent to which music is considered valuable and relevant by government and military. How do individuals in such public sector professions covertly discuss music-related topics in their reports, and in which contexts? A holistic description is essential, but our analysis also seeks to determine the extent to which the underlying assumptions of this discourse may either confirm or challenge previous research-based knowledge concerning the social significance of music.


Barry Eaglestone

Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield, UK (Retired)
Affiliated with NNIMIPA via The University of Southern Denmark

Composition Software Research: Reflections on Creativity - or Thinking Outside the Box


In this short presentation I reflect on results of research in which I have been involved in the past two decades into creativity in music composition  In particular I revisit apparent tensions that emerged between the norms of software design and creative users and a reconfiguration of the conventional information system architecture that was devised to address those tension.



Please feel free to contact NNIMIPA by sending an e-mail to Cynthia M. Grund cmgrund@sdu.dkif you would like to participate in this satellite workshop



Practical Information for Travelers:


When arriving at Marseille airport:


Take bus to Gare St Charles



It is recommended to buy, at the station down in the metro section, a 10 ticket (carnet de dix) for travelling. It will also be used for CMMR activities.



Map: http://www.rtm.fr/sites/default/files/planaxeslourds.pdf


Then take Bus 48, to  AIGUIER C.N.R.S

Map: http://www.rtm.fr/sites/default/files/planreseau.pdf


In particular, our lodgings are located inside the campus at Laboratoire de Mécanique et d’Acoustique (Laboratory of Mechanics and Acoustics , 31 chemin Joseph-Aiguier 13009 Marseille. This is what is referred to as AIGUIER C.N.R.S in the travel information here on the NNIMIPA page. Please see also http://www.cmmr2013.cnrs-mrs.fr/CVenue.html.



     Nordic Network for the

     Integration of

     Music Informatics,

     Performance and Aesthetics




NNIMIPA goes to Marseille to present a satellite workshop on October 14, 2013 in conjunction with The 10th International Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research (CMMR) themed Sound, Music and Motion,

October 15-18, 2013. Please see http://www.cmmr2013.cnrs-mrs.fr/. 


holds a meeting in conjunction with