Nordic Sound and Music Computing Network up and running

I am super excited about our new Nordic Sound and Music Computing Network, which has just started up with funding from the Nordic Research Council.

This network brings together a group of internationally leading sound and music computing researchers from institutions in five Nordic countries: Aalborg University, Aalto University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, University of Iceland, and University of Oslo. The network covers the field of sound and music from the “soft” to the “hard,” including the arts and humanities, and the social and natural sciences, as well as engineering, and involves a high level of technological competency.

At the University of Oslo we have one open PhD fellowship connected to the network, with application deadline 4 April 2018. We invite PhD proposals that focus on sound/music interaction with periodic/rhythmic human body motion (walking, running, training, etc.). The appointed candidate is expected to carry out observation studies of human body motion in real-life settings, using different types of mobile motion capture systems (full-body suit and individual trackers). Results from the analysis of these observation studies should form the basis for the development of prototype systems for using such periodic/rhythmic motion in musical interaction.

The appointed candidate will benefit from the combined expertise within the NordicSMC network, and is expected to carry out one or more short-term scientific missions to the other partners. At UiO, the candidate will be affiliated with RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion. This interdisciplinary centre focuses on rhythm as a structuring mechanism for the temporal dimensions of human life. RITMO researchers span the fields of musicology, psychology and informatics, and have access to state-of-the-art facilities in sound/video recording, motion capture, eye tracking, physiological measurements, various types of brain imaging (EEG, fMRI), and rapid prototyping and robotics laboratories.

New article: Group behaviour and interpersonal synchronization to electronic dance music

I am happy to announce the publication of a follow-up study to our former paper on group dancing to EDM, and a technical paper on motion capture of groups of people. In this new study we successfully managed to track groups of 9-10 people dancing in a semi-ecological setup in our motion capture lab. We also found a lot of interesting things when it came to how people synchronize to both the music and each other.

Citation:
Solberg, R. T., & Jensenius, A. R. (2017). Group behaviour and interpersonal synchronization to electronic dance music. Musicae Scientiae.

Abstract:
The present study investigates how people move and relate to each other – and to the dance music – in a club-like setting created within a motion capture laboratory. Three groups of participants (29 in total) each danced to a 10-minute-long DJ mix consisting of four tracks of electronic dance music (EDM). Two of the EDM tracks had little structural development, while the two others included a typical “break routine” in the middle of the track, consisting of three distinct passages: (a) “breakdown”, (b) “build-up” and (c) “drop”. The motion capture data show similar bodily responses for all three groups in the break routines: a sudden decrease and increase in the general quantity of motion. More specifically, the participants demonstrated an improved level of interpersonal synchronization after the drop, particularly in their vertical movements. Furthermore, the participants’ activity increased and became more pronounced after the drop. This may suggest that the temporal removal and reintroduction of a clear rhythmic framework, as well as the use of intensifying sound features, have a profound effect on a group’s beat synchronization. Our results further suggest that the musical passages of EDM efficiently lead to the entrainment of a whole group, and that a break routine effectively “re-energizes” the dancing.

 

New publication: Sonic Microinteraction in “the Air”

I am happy to announce a new book chapter based on the artistic-scientific research in the Sverm and MICRO projects.

Citation: Jensenius, A. R. (2017). Sonic Microinteraction in “the Air.” In M. Lesaffre, P.-J. Maes, & M. Leman (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction (pp. 431–439). New York: Routledge.
Abstract: This chapter looks at some of the principles involved in developing conceptual methods and technological systems concerning sonic microinteraction, a type of interaction with sounds that is generated by bodily motion at a very small scale. I focus on the conceptualization of interactive systems that can exploit the smallest possible micromotion that people are able to both perceive and produce. It is also important that the interaction that is taking place allow for a recursive element via a feedback loop from the sound produced back to the performer producing it.

New publication: Pleasurable and Intersubjectively Embodied Experiences of Electronic Dance Music.

I am happy to announce a new publication, this time with my colleague Ragnhild Torvanger Solberg. Best of all, this is also a gold open access publication, freely available for everyone:
Citation:
Solberg, R. T., & Jensenius, A. R. (2017). Pleasurable and Intersubjectively Embodied Experiences of Electronic Dance Music. Empirical Musicology Review, 11(3–4), 301–318.
Abstract:
How do dancers engage with electronic dance music (EDM) when dancing? This paper reports on an empirical study of dancers’ pleasurable engagement with three structural properties of EDM: (1) breakdown, (2) build-up, and (3) drop. Sixteen participants danced to a DJ mix in a club-like environment, and the group’s bodily activity was recorded with an infrared, marker-based motion capture system. After they danced, the subjects filled out questionnaires about the pleasure they experienced and their relative desire to move while dancing. Subsequent analyses revealed associations between the group’s quantity of motion and self-reported experiences of pleasure. Associations were also found between certain sonic features and dynamic changes in the dancers’ movements. Pronounced changes occurred in the group’s quantity of motion during the breakdown, build-up, and drop sections, suggesting a high level of synchronization between the group and the structural properties of the music. The questionnaire confirmed this intersubjective agreement: participants perceived the musical passages consistently and marked the build-up and drop as particularly pleasurable and motivational in terms of dancing. Self-reports demonstrated that the presence and activity of other participants were also important in the shaping of one’s own experience, thus supporting the idea of clubbing as an intersubjectively embodied experience.

New SMC paper: Optical or Inertial? Evaluation of Two Motion Capture Systems for Studies of Dancing to Electronic Dance Music

2015-08-12_18-04-34My colleague Ragnhild Torvanger Solberg and I presented a paper at the Sound and Music Computing conference in Hamburg last week called: “Optical or Inertial? Evaluation of Two Motion Capture Systems for Studies of Dancing to Electronic Dance Music“.

This is a methodological paper, trying to summarize our experiences with using our Qualisys motion capture system for group dance studies. We have two other papers in the pipeline that describes the actual data from the experiments in question. The happy story in the SMC paper is that it is, indeed, possible to get good tracking with multiple people, although it requires quite some fine tuning of the system.

Download: Fulltext (PDF)

Abstract: What type of motion capture system is best suited for studying dancing to electronic dance music? The paper discusses positive and negative sides of using camera-based and sensor-based motion tracking systems for group studies of dancers. This is exemplified through experiments with a Qualisys infrared motion capture system being used alongside a set of small inertial trackers from Axivity and regular video recordings. The conclusion is that it is possible to fine-tune an infrared tracking system to work satisfactory for group studies of complex body motion in a “club-like” environment. For ecological studies in a real club setting, however, inertial tracking is the most scalable and flexible solution.

Citation: Solberg, R. T., & Jensenius, Alexander Refsum, A. R. (2016). Optical or Inertial? Evaluation of Two Motion Capture Systems for Studies of Dancing to Electronic Dance Music. In Proceedings of the Sound and Music Computing Conference (pp. 469–474). Hamburg.

BibTeX
@inproceedings{solberg_optical_2016,
address = {Hamburg},
title = {Optical or {Inertial}? {Evaluation} of {Two} {Motion} {Capture} {Systems} for {Studies} of {Dancing} to {Electronic} {Dance} {Music}},
isbn = {978-3-00-053700-4},
abstract = {What type of motion capture system is best suited for studying dancing to electronic dance music? The paper discusses positive and negative sides of using camera-based and sensor-based motion tracking systems for group studies of dancers. This is exemplified through experiments with a Qualisys infrared motion capture system being used alongside a set of small inertial trackers from Axivity and regular video recordings. The conclusion is that it is possible to fine-tune an infrared tracking system to work satisfactory for group studies of complex body motion in a “club-like” environment. For ecological studies in a real club setting, however, inertial tracking is the most scalable and flexible solution.},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the {Sound} and {Music} {Computing} {Conference}},
author = {Solberg, Ragnhild Torvanger and Jensenius, Alexander Refsum, Alexander Refsum},
year = {2016},
pages = {469--474},