Session/séance 1.1. Sound Mapping

Session|Séance 1.1.  Sound Mapping.
Room: 11-452. Chair: Craig Brenan.

Wednesday|mercredi 23 May|mai 2018. 9:00 - 11:00AM

1.1.1 Sound Narrative:  A Curricular Tool for Inspiring Artistry, Research, and Global Equality in Music Technology Education

Daniel A. Walzer, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Using sound for storytelling purposes enhances reflective teaching and learning in Music Technology Education (MTE). Drawing on Phonomusicology and Audionarratology as theoretical models, this paper discusses how the discipline of analyzing contemporary recorded music and audio documentaries, and the participants involved therein, reveals much about the continuous sociocultural inequalities facing MTE, and its associated professions. When deployed thoughtfully, sound narrative affords students an opportunity to produce media-enhanced stories that promote critical thinking, interdisciplinary collaboration, and creativity. The paper concludes with some pedagogical vignettes and curricular options based on new initiatives from the author’s home institution.

1.1.2. Backbeat placement affects tempo judgment

Bryn Hughes, University of Lethbridge

Background: Tactus corresponds with listeners’ perceptions of tempo (Drake et al 2000). Nevertheless, equating tactus rate to tempo may ignore other parameters that impact our sense of “musical speed” (Epstein 1995). Rhythmic patterns with equivalent event density may differ in metrical organization, which can interfere with tactus-based judgments of speed (London 2009). Listeners are keenly aware of traits that define musical genres (Gjerdingen and Perrot 2008). If genre- specific traits impact metrical hierarchy, they may also influence tempo perception.

Aims: The backbeat, an emphasis on beats two and four in a simple quadruple meter, is ubiquitous in popular music. This study investigates the impact of backbeat on participants’ accuracy in a tempo comparison task. It was predicted that changing the backbeat placement between two excerpts would lower participants’ accuracy in judging the tempo change between those two excerpts.

Methods: For each trial, participants heard two excerpts and were asked whether the second excerpt was slower, the same tempo, or faster than the first. Excerpts were played at 120 or 132 BPM, and included a normal backbeat (emphasized beats 2 and 4) or “half-time” backbeat (emphasized beat 3). Participants were asked not to engage physically with the music.

Results: Participants’ accuracy in judging tempi significantly worsened when the backbeat of the second excerpt was inconsistent with the first.

Conclusions: The results show that backbeat influences tempo perception, suggesting that theories of tempo and meter in rock music should it to be a stylistic trait of vital importance to rock musicians’ metrical orientation.


Drake, Carolyn, Amandine Penel, and Emmanuel Bigand. “Tapping in Time with Mechanically and Expressively Performed Music.” Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal 18, no. 1 (2000): 1–23.

Epstein, David. 1995. Shaping Time: Music, The Brain, and Performance. New York: Schirmer.

Gjerdingen, Robert O. and Perrott, David. 2008. “Scanning the Dial: The Rapid Recognition of Music Genres.” Journal of New Music Research, 37, no. 2, 93-100.

London, Justin. 2009. “Differences in Metrical Structure Confound Tempo Judgments.” Paper presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Indianapolis IN, August 2009.

McKinney, Martin F., and Dirk Moelants. 2006. “Ambiguity in Tempo Perception: What Draws Listeners to Different Metrical Levels?” Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal 24, no. 2, 155–66.


1.1.3.  EQ and Feminized Spaces of Productivity in Toronto

Alexa Woloshyn, Carnegie Mellon University

The Toronto electronic music scene is still shaped by its institutional history, namely the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio (UTEMS). The university and UTEMS were masculine spaces. Electronic music remains a male-dominated sphere, despite efforts by Tara Rodgers (Pink Noises, 2010), Hannah Bosma (2016), and Andra McCartney (1994, 1995, 1996, 2006) to highlight women’s work and build community within the genre. McCartney’s work concludes that women electronic musicians create bounded spaces within which to find reprieve from the male-dominated sphere and often implement alternative strategies and metaphors for their aesthetic practices. EQ, a workshop series and community initiated by Toronto-based sound artist and electroacoustic composer Rose Bolton, is one such alternative strategy.

Through a partnership with the Canadian Music Centre, Bolton began EQ in 2015, a program for the “mentorship and community building for women in electronic music.” I have gathered ethnographic evidence of this program, including group and individual sessions as well as participant interviews. This paper synthesizes my ethnographic analysis of the EQ program’s second iteration with scholarship on community formation (Cohen 2013; Shelemey 2011) and musicking as everyday acts of embodied activism (Barske 2009; Wilson 2010). EQ becomes a hub for female solidarity in electronic music-making, and a node from which to expand one’s own network and aesthetic practice. My analysis highlights the importance of integrating both physical and virtual feminized spaces of productivity, and examines the logistical limitations of achieving EQ’s mandate.


1.1.4. Les enjeux de la cartographie sonore: Dépasser la frontière de la neutralité.

Rainier Leloup, Université Laval

Ce travail étudie le rôle et statut actuel de la cartographie sonore comme outil indispensable dans le processus d’intégration d’une ville au sein du concept d’ « Hypercité » (Presner, Shepard, Kawano 2014). Les projets de cartographie sonore se sont multipliés depuis le début des années 2000 et à cette occasion, la définition de la carte en elle-même a dû évoluer. En effet, cette dernière ne pouvait plus contenir l’aspect neutre qu’elle tentait de propager auparavant, à savoir une représentation figée d’un territoire immobile (Joly 1999). La cartographie sonore éclaire de nouvelles situations, enjeux et réalités, mais interagit également avec l’histoire des cartes et les médias numériques (Waldock 2011).

Le concept de cartographie sonore démarra dans les années 1970, grâce aux travaux fondateurs de R. Murray Schafer (1977). Concernant l’état de la création dans la cartographie sonore, beaucoup n’ont pas réussi à franchir la frontière de neutralité. À ce titre, ce travail tente de distinguer quatre natures de cartes et leurs caractéristiques : concrète, abstraite, théorique et empirique. Ces natures enclenchent le mécanisme d’intégration pour une ville (ou quelque soit l’espace désigné) au sein de l’ « Hypercité », qui met en relief toutes les interprétations possibles d’une ville. Deux exemples de cartographie sonore illustrent cette démonstration : Every Noise At Once (Mcdonald 2013) et BNA – BBOT : Brussels Soundmap (Janssen, Gillié, Jordens 2000). Le premier spatialise la banque de données musicales du logiciel Spotify tandis que le second expose les dialectes locaux oubliés d’une ville internationale.


Janssen, Séverine et Gillié, Flavien et Jordens, Patrick. 2000. BNA-BBOT : Brussels Soundmap.

Joly, Fernand. 1999. La cartographie. col. Que sais-je. Paris : Presses Universitaires de France

Mcdonald, Glenn. 2013. Every Noise At Once.

Presner, Todd and Shepard, David and Kawano, Yoh. 2014. HyperCities. Cambridge : Harvard University Press

Schafer, R. Murray. 1977 (for the original edition), 2010. Le Paysage Sonore – Le monde comme musique. col. Domaine Sauvage. France : Éditions Wildproject.

Waldock, Jacqueline. 2011. « SOUNDMAPPING : Critiques And Reflections On This New Publicly Engaging Medium » Journal of Sonic Studies 1, n°1 (octobre).