Exploring the Mind through Music

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The Shepherd School of Music and Rice University are preparing to host their 3rd International Conference on Music and the Mind. The goal of the Conference is to promote collaboration between musicians and scientists and spur research, as well as increase public interest in this exciting discipline.

We are now accepting applications from musicians and scientists for the four-day program that will take place from June 6-10, 2016. All Conference costs are covered, including registration fees, housing and meals; fellows are only required to pay for their travel to campus. Please see the attached flyer and Conference website for full details:
www.rice.edu/mindandmusic <http://www.rice.edu/mindandmusic>

The mornings feature inter-disciplinary seminars: the science fellows will study music theory and history while the music fellows will learn about brain morphology, music perception and experimental design. The afternoons and evening sessions include presentations by distinguished visiting faculty including Ian Cross, Elizabeth Margulis, Isabelle Peretz, David Temperley, Michael Thaut, and Lawrence Zbikowski.

The fellows will also have a chance to share their work with their peers and the public in short, “TED”-style presentations. Many events are free and open to the public; seating will be on first-come, first-served basis. The morning seminars may be audited by members of the Rice and Baylor communities. Please consult our schedule for full Conference details.

Musicians and scientists at any stage in their careers are encouraged to apply. Fifteen musician and fifteen scientist applicants will be selected based on their demonstrated interest and accomplishment in the field. Applications are due November 1st, 2015 and applicants will be notified by January 15th, 2016. Please share this information with anyone whom you think might be interested.

With thanks and best wishes,
Anthony Brandt and Xaq Pitkow, Conference Directors
Shane Monds, Conference Coordinator
Lucy Lai and Zoe Tao, Assistant Conference Coordinators

Music a universal language? Not quite

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While music is often touted as the “universal language of mankind” it turns out that isn’t quite true.  An analysis of more than 300 music recordings from across the globe shows there is in fact no “absolute” commonality that binds all styles of music together. However, lead author Patrick Savage has found “statistical universals” — features such as pitch, rhythm and even aspects involving social interaction — exist across many styles of music.

The Semiotics of Che Guevara: Affective Gateways

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Title: The Semiotics of Che Guevara
Subtitle: Affective Gateways
Series Title: Bloomsbury Advances in Semiotics

Publication Year: 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly The Continuum International Publishing Group)

Book URL: bloomsbury.com/uk/the-semiotics-of-che-guevara-9781472505231/

Author: Maria-Carolina Cambre

Electronic: ISBN:  9781472505293 Pages: 256 Price: U.K. £ 74.99
Electronic: ISBN:  9781472512222 Pages: 256 Price: U.K. £ 74.99
Hardback: ISBN:  9781472505231 Pages: 240 Price: U.K. £ 75.00


Alberto Korda’s famous photograph of Che Guevara titled the “Guerrillero Heroico” has been reproduced, modified and remixed countless times since it was taken on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba.

This book looks again at this well-known mass-produced image to explore how an image can take on cultural force in diverse parts of the globe and legitimate varying positions and mass action in unexpected global political contexts.

Analytically, the book develops a comparative analysis of how images become attached to a range of meanings that are absolutely inseparable from their contexts of use. Addressing the need for a fluid and responsive approach to the study of visual meaning-making, this book relies on multiple methodologies such as semiotics, research-creation, multimodal discourse analysis, ethnography and phenomenology and shows how each method has something to offer toward the understanding of the social and cultural work of images in our globally oriented cultures.

Facial Tokens Of Sensing

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US researchers have uncovered a way for computers to recognise 21 distinct and often complex facial expressions, in what is being hailed as a breakthrough in the field of cognitive analysis.

Mu­sicians have an en­hanced abil­ity to in­te­grate in­forma­t­ion from hear­ing, tou­ch, and sight

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Thor­ough mu­si­cal train­ing af­fects the struc­ture and func­tion of dif­fer­ent brain re­gions more pro­found­ly than pre­vi­ously thought.  See here!

The Progressive Homogenisation Of Pop Musical Discourse

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A team led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra at the Spanish National Research Council ran music from the last 50 years through complex algorithms and found that pop songs have become intrinsically louder and more bland in terms of the chords, melodies and types of sound used.

“We found evidence of a progressive homogenisation of the musical discourse,” says Serra. “In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations – roughly speaking chords plus melodies – has consistently diminished in the last 50 years.”

They also found the so-called timbre palette has become poorer. The same note played at the same volume on, say, a piano and a guitar is said to have a different timbre, so the researchers found modern pop has a more limited variety of sounds.


6icom Programme

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Berit Hendriksen and Gunther Kress discuss the notions of ‘mode’, ‘resource’, ‘affordance’ and ‘sign’.

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Facial Expressions Develop Before Birth

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Babies in the womb develop a range of facial movements in which one can identify facial expressions such as laughter and crying, researchers say.

Affect As Judgement

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