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CRBLM Talk by Dr. Joseph Plazak

The size code: Affective interactions of musical pitch and timbre

Abstract: The auditory system is capable of estimating the “size” of a perceived sound source, specifically from biological sounds such as human or animal vocalizations. Consistent with theories of speech paralanguage, recent research implicates that sound source size may be useful as a general attribute of musical timbre, and further, that sound source size may play a role in perceived emotional responses to music. This talk discusses recent empirical findings on the role of the “size code” within music perception, and explores the importance of pitch and timbre interactions for understanding emotional communication via music.

Bio: Joseph Plazak is a music theorist and researcher at Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL, USA). In 2014, he was awarded a junior faculty research grant that facilitated an opportunity to investigate the musical “Size Code” at McGill University. Plazak’s research investigates similarities between music and speech-related paralanguage, and draws connections between the biological mechanisms of perception and associated human affective responses.


Mar 12 2015


4:00 pm - 7:00 pm




BRAMS - Suite 0120
1430 boul Mont Royal


Eva Best
(514) 343-6111 ext. 3167

BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research) is a unique laboratory dedicated to research excellence in the study of music and auditory cognition with a focus on neuroscience. BRAMS is located in Montreal and jointly affiliated with the University of Montreal and McGill University.


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