2nd International Conference on Timbre

Thessaloniki2–4 September

New abstract submission deadline (April 24) due to COVID-19 disruption


Welcome to Timbre 2020! Καλωσορίσατε!

The 2nd International Conference on Timbre will be held 2–4 September 2020 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

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: Deniz Başkent (University of Groningen) will speak about voice perception with hearing impairment, Morwaread M. Farbood (New York University) on the role of timbre in music psychology, Stefan Bilbao (University of Edinburgh) on acoustics of musical instruments and rooms; and Denis Smalley (City, University of London) will discuss the role of timbre in music composition and sound design.

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

Acoustics – Stefan Weinzierl, Technische Universität Berlin
Audiology, Deniz Başkent, University of Groningen
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

Deniz Başkent is fascinated with all aspects of human perception, the door to the outside world, which keeps us aware and connected with everything else around us. Her specialization is in hearing perception, which involves many aspects related to hearing, such as hearing impairment, cochlear implants, speech communication, and cognitive mechanisms. A strong motivation for Deniz is the wish to improve quality of life for children and adults with hearing impairment. Deniz is currently a professor at the Otorhinolaryngology Department of University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Netherlands, but she has reached this final destination at the hospital via a diverse range of pathways, crossing multiple countries (Turkey and USA), multiple disciplines (Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Cognitive Neuroscience), and multiple settings (industry, academia).

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.

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.

Denis Smalley holds a diploma in electroacoustic composition from the Groupe de Recherches Musicales and a doctorate in composition from the University of York. He has also attended Olivier Messiaen's composition class at the Paris Conservatoire. Until 1994 he was Senior Lecturer in Music and Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studio at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. He then moved to City, University of London, as Professor and Head of the Department of Music. Denis Smalley's works have been widely acclaimed, winning a number of international awards including the Prix Ars Electronica in 1988. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Huddersfield for his achievements in electroacoustic music. Denis Smalley is a noted writer on the aesthetics of electroacoustic music. He developed the notion of “spectromorphology” (the shaping of sound spectra through time), which aims to explain sonic relationships in their musical context. A book on his music and ideas was published by GRM/Institut National de l'Audiovisuel in the Polychrome Portraits series - in English in 2010, and in French in 2011.

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: April 24, 2020
Notification of acceptance: May 29, 2020
Camera ready paper submission deadline: June 20, 2020

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

How to submit abstracts

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations must be submitted online on the EasyChair website.

All abstracts must be submitted in the Portable Document Format (PDF) and must conform to the conference template ( doc / docx ).

How to submit revised abstracts/papers

coming soon

Please register on the following site: coming soon

Regular early registration by 30 June 2020: 150€
Student early registration by 30 June 2020: 50€
Regular late registration after 1 July 2020: 250€
Student late registration after 1 July 2020: 150€

Proof of student status will be required at check-in for the student rate.

Registration includes access to conference events and opening reception,
as well as coffee breaks (all three days) and lunches (days two and three).
Vegetarian/vegan options will be provided at lunches.

Tentative Programme

Morning: Thessaloniki Roman and Byzantine walking tour

Afternoon: 1st Keynote and talk session

Evening: welcome reception & concert

Morning: 2nd Keynote and talk sessions

Afternoon: talk and poster sessions, 3rd Keynote

Evening: concert and conference dinner

Morning: 4th Keynote and talk sessions

Afternoon: talk and poster sessions, closing remarks

Evening: TBD

Venue & Hosts

Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece, is renown for its Ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine monuments, its charming shopping streets, its beautiful seafront, a luscious local cuisine, and a bustling nightlife. Founded in 315 B.C., and named after the stepsister of Alexander the Great, a contemporaneous princess, the city has remained a crossroads of cultures and civilizations for over 2300 years. It is nowadays considered to be Greece's cultural capital, acclaimed for its festivals and cultural events.

A brief presentation of Thessaloniki is given here.

An official travel guide may be found here, including information about how to get to Thessaloniki and how to move around the city.

The conference will take place at the Teloglion Foundation of Art. Teloglion occupies an impressive, modern, high specifications building with a panoramic view over the Thermaic Gulf and Olympus, set in a large green park at the north east end of AUTh's campus.

Teloglion was founded in 1972, when the art collection and the entire property of Nestor and Aliki Telloglou were donated to the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Today Teloglion's collection consists of more than 7000 works which tell the story of modern Greek art up to the present day. Part of the largest university in Greece, Teloglion links research, teaching, scholarship, the child, the worker, the third age and art and culture in their broadest sense.

Address: Agiou Dimitriou 159Α, 54636 Thessaloniki

Bus stop Teloglio (lines 24, 17, 37)
Bus stop Plateia Pavlou Mela (line 15)

Founded in 1926, AUTh is the largest university in Greece. It is widely recognized as a vibrant center of learning which draws its inspiration from a long tradition of academic achievement. This can be supported, among other factors, by the fact that so much in science, as in the arts and religious studies, medicine and technology, it prides itself on its international role.

The School of Music Studies was founded in 1984 as part of AUTh’s Faculty of Fine Arts. It is the first university music department which has operated in Greece and in general it is the first tertiary music studies institution in the history of modern Greece. The School of Music Studies features the Cognitive and Computational Musicology Group which perfoms interdisciplinary research in the areas of music creation, its related technologies and human cognition.