2nd International Conference on Timbre

A Virtual Conference3–4 September 2020


Welcome to Timbre 2020! Καλωσορίσατε!

The 2nd International Conference on Timbre will be held 3–4 September 2020 in Thessaloniki, Greece as a virtual conference.

The study of timbre has recently gained a remarkable momentum. Following the Berlin Interdisciplinary Workshop on Timbre (2017) and the international conference Timbre is a Many-Splendored Thing (2018), the goal of Timbre 2020 is to continue a tradition of meetings around timbre.

Timbre poses multifaceted research questions at the intersection of psychology, musicology, acoustics, and cognitive neuroscience. Bringing together leading experts from these and related fields, Timbre 2020 aims to provide a truly interdisciplinary forum for exchanging novel perspectives and forging collaborations across different disciplines to help address challenges in our understanding of timbre from empirical, theoretical, and computational perspectives.

Four keynotes from distinguished experts will discuss timbre from a broad and complementary set of perspectives: Morwaread M. Farbood (New York University) on the role of timbre in music psychology, Jennifer Bizley (University College London) on the neural coding of timbre, David Howard (Royal Holloway University of London) on vocal timbre and Stefan Bilbao (University of Edinburgh) on acoustics of musical instruments and rooms.

Timbre 2020 is jointly organised by Asterios Zacharakis, Kai Siedenburg, and Charalampos Saitis, with support from the School of Music Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science of the Queen Mary University of London, and the Department of Medical Physics and Acoustics of the University of Oldenburg.

Conference Chairs

Asterios Zacharakis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Kai Siedenburg, University of Oldenburg
Charalampos Saitis, Queen Mary University of London

Local Organising Committee

Asterios Zacharakis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Konstantinos Pastiadis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Emilios Cambouropoulos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

International Evaluation Committee

Computer science – Philippe Esling, IRCAM/Sorbonne Université
Composition – Denis Smalley, City, University of London (Emeritus)
Ethnomusicology – Cornelia Fales, Indiana University
Music theory and analysis – Robert Hasegawa, McGill University
Musicology – Emily Dolan, Brown University
Neuroscience – Vinoo Alluri, International Institute of Information Technology
Popular music studies – Zachary Wallmark, University of Oregon
Psychology – Stephen McAdams, McGill University
Signal processing – Marcelo Caetano, McGill University
Sound recording – Joshua Reiss, Queen Mary University of London
Voice/Synthesis – David Howard, Royal Holloway University of London

Morwaread M. Farbood is an Associate Professor of Music Technology in the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions New York University, where she affiliated with the Music and Audio Research Laboratory (MARL) and Max Planck/NYU Center for Language, Music, and Emotion (CLaME). Her research focuses primarily on the computational modeling of real-time aspects of music perception. She explores how emergent phenomena such as tonality and musical tension are perceived and how knowledge of these high-level aspects of music can be incorporated into software applications for facilitating musical creativity. Farbood received an A.B. from Harvard and S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the co-founder of the Northeast Music Cognition Group (NEMCOG), an organization that brings together music perception researchers in the Northeast Corridor region of the United States.

Jennifer Bizley is currently Professor of Auditory Neuroscience and a Wellcome Trust / Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship holder. She is based at the Ear Institute, University College London, where she established her lab in 2011. Prior to that she was a D.Phil student and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford and an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge. Her work seeks to understand how the brain makes sense of sound, and in particular how auditory cortex facilitates listening in the noisy and complex everyday situations we experience. She combines behavioural testing in humans and animals, with observing and perturbing neural activity and computational modelling. Her work focuses on the representation of auditory and audiovisual signals in the auditory cortex.

Stefan Bilbao (B.A. Physics, Harvard, 1992, MSc., PhD Electrical Engineering, Stanford, 1996 and 2001 respectively) is currently Professor of Acoustics and Audio Signal Processing in the Acoustics and Audio Group at the University of Edinburgh, and previously held positions at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, at the Queen's University Belfast, and the Stanford Space Telecommunications and Radioscience Laboratory. He has led the NESS project (Next Generation Sound Synthesis) and WRAM project (Wave-based Room Acoustics Modeling), both funded by the European Research Council, and running jointly between the Acoustics and Audio Group and the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre at the University of Edinburgh between 2012 and 2018. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

David Howard researches in the area of human voice production and has developed the Vocal Tract Organ for music performance as well as voice synthesis, including recreating the sound of a 3000-year-old Mummy in 2020. His PhD involved making an analogue fundamental frequency estimation device for cochlear implant users in the 1980s. Since then he has worked on tuning in a cappella (unaccompanied) choral singing, voice development in cathedral choristers and the use of AR and VR for storytelling.

Call for papers

Timbre 2020 invites submissions in the form of extended abstracts (up to 2 pages, 500-1000 words) for oral or poster presentation.

All submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed and the accepted ones can be updated to a 4 pages paper that will be included in the conference proceedings. The proceedings will have an ISBN and its electronic version will become available here before the conference.

Please note that at least one of the paper authors has to register for the paper to be presented and included in the proceedings.

Topics of interest include all scientific contributions related to timbre. Specific topics include, but are not limited to:

  • - history of timbre
  • - timbre in popular, folk, and traditional music
  • - control of timbre in film music and sound design
  • - timbre in orchestration and compositional practices
  • - cultural differences in timbre perception
  • - the role of timbre in auditory scene analysis
  • - the role of timbre in eliciting emotions and tension
  • - timbral manipulation in music performance and conducting
  • - timbre in audio recording and production
  • - control of timbre in sound synthesis
  • - acoustic modeling of timbre
  • - computer aided orchestration
  • - timbre perception, cognition, and aesthetics
  • - timbre perception with cochlear implants
  • - timbre of the human voice
  • - musical instrument and room acoustics
  • - crossmodal associations involving timbre
  • - neural correlates of timbre processing
  • - timbre in music pedagogy

Important dates

Abstract submission deadline: May 22, 2020
Notification of acceptance: June 30, 2020
Camera ready paper submission deadline: July 24, 2020

Early registration opens: May 1, 2020
Early registration closes/late registration opens: July 30, 2020

How to submit revised abstracts or papers

Revisions of abstracts for oral and poster presentations, which can be expanded up to a 4-page paper, must be submitted online on the EasyChair website.

All abstracts/papers must conform to the conference template ( doc / docx ). PLEASE RESPECT THE TEMPLATE FORMAT AND PAGE LIMIT.

When submitting, please include the camera ready abstract or paper both in Word and PDF formats, accompanied by a PDF document explaining how you have taken into account reviewers' comments in the final version.

Registration is now open.

Please fill in the online registration form.


13.45 CET: Welcome

14.00 CET: Keynote talk by Morwaread M. Farbood

15.00 CET: Oral session: Affect

15.00 CET: Caitlyn Trevor, Luc Arnal and Sascha Frühholz | Scary music mimics alarming acoustic feature of screams

15.20 CET: Lena Heng and Stephen McAdams | Timbre’s function within a musical phrase in the perception of affective intents

15.40 CET: Maria Perevedentseva | Timbre and Affect in Electronic Dance Music Discourse

16.00 CET: Poster Session

- Kai Siedenburg | Mapping the interrelation between spectral centroid and fundamental frequency for orchestral instrument sounds

- Sven-Amin Lembke | Sound-gesture identification in real-world sounds of varying timbral complexity

- Cyrus Vahidi, George Fazekas, Charalambos Saitis and Alessandro Palladini | Timbre Space Representation of a Subtractive Syntheziser

- Matt Collins | Timbral Threads: Compositional Strategies for Achieving Timbral Blend in Mixed Electroacoustic Music

- Lindsey Reymore | Timbre Trait Analysis: The Semantics of Instrumentation

- Christos Drouzas and Charalampos Saitis | Verbal Description of Musical Brightness

- Ivan Simurra, Patricia Vanzella and João Sato | Timbre and Visual Forms a crossmodal study relating acoustic features and the Bouba-Kiki Effect

- Gabrielle Choma | Timbre as a Musical Generator: An Analysis of Gerard Grisey’s “Les Espaces Acoustiques”

- Ryan Anderson, Alyxandria Sundheimer and William Shofner | Cross-categorical discrimination of simple speech and music sounds based on timbral fidelity in musically experienced and naïve listeners

- Graeme Noble, Joanna Spyra and Matthew Woolhouse | Memory for Musical Key Distinguished by Timbre

- Harin Lee and Daniel Müllensiefen | A New Test for Measuring Individual’s Timbre Perception Ability

- Kaustuv Kanti Ganguli, Christos Plachouras, Sertan Şentürk, Andrew Eisenberg and Carlos Guedes| Mapping Timbre Space in Regional Music Collections using Harmonic-Percussive Source Separation (HPSS) Decomposition

17.00 CET: Oral session: Semantics

17.00 CET: Ben Hayes and Charalampos Saitis | There’s more to timbre than musical instruments: semantic dimensions of FM sounds

17.20 CET: Bodo Winter and Marcus Perlman | Crossmodal language and onomatopoeia in descriptions of bird vocalization

17.40 CET: Permagnus Lindborg | Which timbral features granger-cause colour associations to music?

18.00 CET: Break

19.00 CET: Speed dating

20.00 CET: Oral session: Instruments

20.00 CET: Francesco Bigoni, Sofia Dahl and Michael Grossbach | Characterizing Subtle Timbre Effects of Drum Strokes Played with Different Technique

20.20 CET: Claudia Fritz | How to relate the timbre (as a perceptual property) of a violin with its acoustic properties and construction parameters

20.40 CET: Joshua Albrecht | One singer, many voices: Distinctive within-singer groupings in Tom Waits

21.00 CET: Keynote talk by Stefan Bilbao

22.00 CET: Social event

14.00 CET: Keynote talk by Jennifer Bizley

15.00 CET: Oral session: Perception

15.00 CET: Braden Maxwell, Johanna Fritzinger and Laurel Carney | Neural Mechanisms for Timbre: Spectral-Centroid Discrimination based on a Model of Midbrain Neurons

15.20 CET: Sarah Sauvé, Benjamin Rich Zendel and Jeremy Marozeau | Age and experience-related use of timbral auditory streaming cues

15.40 CET: Eddy Savvas Kazazis, Philippe Depalle and Stephen McAdams | Perceptual ratio scales of timbre-related audio descriptors

16.00 CET: Poster session

- Alejandro Delgado, Charalampos Saitis and Mark Sandler | Spectral and Temporal Timbral Cues of Vocal Imitations of Drum Sounds

- Islah Ali-MacLachlan, Edmund Hunt and Alastair Jamieson | Player recognition for traditional Irish flute recordings using K-nearest neighbour classification

- Thomas Chalkias and Konstantinos Pastiadis | Perceptual characteristics of spaces of music performance and listening

- Erica Huynh, Joël Bensoam and Stephen Mcadams | Perception of action and object categories in typical and atypical excitation-resonator interactions of musical instruments

- Carolina Espinoza, Alonso Arancibia, Gabriel Cartes and Claudio Falcón | New materials, new sounds: how metamaterials can change the timbre of musical instruments

- Antoine Caillon, Adrien Bitton and Brice Gatinet, Philippe Esling | Timbre Latent Space: Exploration and Creative Aspects

- Victor Rosi, Olivier Houix, Nicolas Misdariis and Patrick Susini | Uncovering the meaning of four semantic attributes of sound : Bright, Rough, Round and Warm

- Jake Patten and Michael McBeath | The difference between shrieks and shrugs: Spectral envelope correlates with changes in pitch and loudness

- Ivonne Michele Abondano Florez | Distorted Pieces of Something: A Compositional Approach to Luminance as a Timbral Dimension

- Asterios Zacharakis, Ben Hayes, Charalampos Saitis and Konstantinos Pastiadis | Evidence for timbre space robustness to an uncontrolled online stimulus presentation

- Kaustuv Kanti Ganguli, Akshay Anantapadmanabhan and Carlos Guedes | Questioning the Fundamental Problem-Definition of Mridangam Transcription

17.00 CET: Oral session: Orchestration

17.00 CET: Moe Touizrar and Kai Siedenburg | The medium is the message: Questioning the necessity of a syntax for timbre

17.20 CET: Didier Guigue and Charles de Paiva Santana | Orchestration and Drama in J.-P. Rameau Les Boréades

17.40 CET: Jason Noble, Kit Soden and Zachary Wallmark | The Semantics of Orchestration: A Corpus Analysis

18.00 CET: Break

19.00 CET: Oral session: Analysis

19.00 CET: Nathalie Herold | Towards a Theory and Analysis of Timbre based on Auditory Scene Analysis Principles: A Case Study of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op. 106, Third Movement

19.20 CET: Matthew Zeller | Klangfarbenmelodie in 1911: Anton Webern's Opp. 9 and 10

19.40 CET: Felipe Pinto-d'Aguiar | Musical OOPArts: early emergences of timbral objects

20.00 CET: Keynote talk by David Howard

21.00 CET: Panel discussion

22.00 CET: Closing