Emotional Archetypes: Music and Neurosciences

June 8, 2016, 10 a.m. 6 p.m.    |    Free entry. Limited seats available
Ircam - Salle Igor Stravinsky
June 9, 2016, 10 a.m. 6 p.m.    |    Free entry. Limited seats available
Ircam - Salle Igor Stravinsky

Music holds a strange power over our emotions. Through a sentence or texture, a sound event erupts, an attack, a trembling, sometimes only a lonely sigh, and suddenly our entire psychology is turned upside down. "Coming face-to-face with music" is rarely a question of life or death, but our biological reactions can be similar to those during survival situations. This encounter compares and contrasts contributions from neuroscientists and composers, notably during shared listening sessions, on the question of musical archetypes, debating what the "musical survival kit" would contain, the essence of what makes an event (physiological) in music.

Organization: Jean-Julien Aucouturier (Perception and Sound Design team at IRCAM-STMS, ERC CREAM project)

Wednesday, June 8

One of the most natural ways to explain emotions created by musical sounds is their proximity to langage, and to expressive speech in particular. Our first guest talk, the workshop's keynote address by Aniruddh Patel, will review the neurobiological invariants between speech and music, and explain whether one can indeed be invoked to explain the other. Our second invited speaker, researcher and artist Gregory Beller, will give examples from his own practice to illustrate how modern voice synthesis technologies are used in contemporary music performance. Finally, three of the participants of IRCAM's own project "6months" will describe their attempts at "highjacking" in-house voice manipulation tools designed for music production, in order to create sounds for music neuroscience experiments.

  • 10:00 - 11:30 | Introduction and Keynote Address
    Aniruddh Patel
    , Tufts University
    Music, Language, Emotion, and the Brain: a Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective
  • 11:30 - 12:00 | Break
  • 12:00 - 1:00pm | Grégory Beller, IRCAM
    Voice Synthesis Technologies in Contemporary Music Creation
  • 1:00 - 2:30pm | Lunch
  • 2:30 - 3:30pm | Studio Report #1: The "6months" Project
    Laura Rachman, Pablo Arias, Emmanuel Ponsot, IRCAM-STMS
  • 3:30 - 4:00pm | Break

Implicit in the idea of emotional musical archetypes is their automatic, unconscious processing by the listener – surely, one does not "think" of a piano or a flute as a literal "cry" or "roar". Our third guest speaker, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Elvira Brattico, will review recent neuroimaging studies examining the rapid and automatic series of events leading to the emergence of emotions when one listens to music.

  • 4:00 - 5:00pm | Elvira Brattico, Aarhus University
    Automatic Processing of Musical Emotions in the Brain
  • 5:00 - 5:30pm | Discussion Day #1

Thursday, June 9

"Music cognition is continuous with normal auditory cognition": sounds that signal danger ("ROAR!") or that carry meaning on their causes ("BANG!") are archetypes from which musical emotions can emerge. Our fourth guest speaker, Professor Of Communication Sciences Gregory A. Bryant, will show through recent data how musical sounds that mimic the acoustics of certain animal calls can trigger corresponding emotions in human listeners. Our fifth guest speaker, Professor of Linguistics Philippe Schlenker, will show how a formal semantics of such auditory events can be developped for music. Finally, a second studio report from IRCAM's "6months" project will show how these ideas can provide inspiration for further experiments on the links between music and emotions.

  • 10:00 - 11:00 | Gregory A. Bryant, UCLA
    Animal Signals and Emotion in Music
  • 11:00 - 11:30 | Break
  • 11:30 - 12:30 | Philippe Schlenker, ENS
    Prolegomena to Music Semantics
  • 12:30 - 1:00pm | Discussion
  • 1:00 - 2:30pm | Lunch
  • 2:30 - 3:30pm | Studio Report #2 : The "6months" Project
    Marco Liuni, Clément Canonne, Jean-Julien Aucouturier, IRCAM-STMS
  • 3:30 - 4:00pm | Break

In the workshop's concluding panel session, contemporary music composers Salvatore Sciarrino (Italy), Hyun-Hwa Cho (Korea) and Thierry De Mey (Belgium) will describe – through sound examples – how they explore the notion of emotional archetype in their music; while three of the workhop's invited scientists will react to their examples, and add some from their own experiments. Through this confrontation, we hope to show that there is more art than usually thought in how scientists construct their experimental stimuli, and more science than usually believed in how composers sculpt their musical sounds.

  • 4:00 - 5:30pm | Panel with
    Salvatore Sciarrino, chair: Laurent Feneyrou (4:00pm)
    Thierry De Mey, chair: Clément Canonne (4:30pm)
    Hyun-Hwa Cho, chair: Serge Lemouton (5:00pm)
  • 4:00 - 5:55pm | Panel Discussion and Interaction with Audience
  • 5:55pm | Closing Remarks

Emotional Archetypes Live

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