summary of recent activity

The first 6 months…

The main activity over the first 6 months of the ShakeIt project addressed the following areas: i) to set up the project infrastructure, ii) to hold an internal workshop for all collaborators on the project, and iii) to design, conduct and report on the results of the first psychological experiment.

Development of Computational Models:

The main work conducted on the development of computational models was to re-implement existing code from a prior experiment on audio descriptors and the perception of groove (see Madison et al, 2011 in publications). This involved re-writing the code and adding comments to describe its operation. The code performs two types of important analysis relevant to the project: the detection of periodicity features (related to tempo and beat structure) and techniques for measuring microtiming deviations present in musical audio signals. The code is publicly available under GPL license at:

Groove Perception Experiment 1:

The aim of the first psychological experiment, PsychExpe1, was to explore the effect of microtiming deviations and groove. The entire process of running the experiment was conducted in several stages. First the experiment was designed during the internal workshop with Guy Madison (May, 2011), then a set of musical stimuli covering different musical styles and microtiming patterns and magnitudes were constructed. A piece of standalone software was created to the run the experiment allowing playback of the stimuli and the ability to recording ratings made by the participants. A set of 30 participants were recruited by emails sent to mailing lists at INESC and FEUP. Prior to taking the experiment, each participant was given clear instructions and signed a consent form to allow for their ratings to be analysed anonymously. Participants were paid 10€ for taking part. The experiment took place at INESC between 27th July and 12th August 2011.

Analysis of the experimental results demonstrated a largely negative effect for microtiming and groove, showing a clear tendency for groove ratings to decrease as a function of the magnitude of the microtiming. While we were confident about the design of the experiment and the validity of the musical stimuli created, the results raised the issue of whether musical training would be required to fully appreciate microtiming in music. To this end we plan to run a second psychological experiment using the same stimuli and design but using a group of expert participants with musical training.

The stimuli and scripts for applying microtiming deviations to MIDI files are available on here.

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