Collective Experience of Music Performances with Augmented Acoustics
We are looking for two (2) doctoral researchers (Ph.D. candidates) for our new project.
In this project, we study the collective experience in a naturalistic, live music performance experience. All subjects have fixed roles, i.e., music performers or audience members. Also, the music performance follows a fixed and repeatable timeline. The collective experience is measured with passive and active methods. Performers and audience members are equipped with physiological measurement devices such as synchronized heart rate measurements, and their movements are tracked with optical tracking. Further, the audience members indicate their valence with a slider during the performance. We explore the contributing social and acoustic factors to the experience based on the gathered data. The research will be done in the Virtual Acoustics research team, led by Prof. Tapio Lokki, whose team is well known for their work on room acoustics, particularly concert hall studies.
In this project, we develop an augmented acoustics system to manipulate the room acoustics during the music performance to disentangle its impact on the collective experience. The augmented acoustic system is refined to optimize the quality necessary for the perceptual study. A series of listening tests characterize the perceived naturalness of the added reverberation. A systematic analysis of the multi-channel room transfer functions enables improved microphone and loudspeaker placement and coupling to resonances. We develop novel technical algorithms to enhance the naturalness, ease of tuning, and computational requirements. The research will be done in the Sound in Virtual Reality team, led by Prof. Sebastian J. Schlecht, whose team is well known for their work on virtual acoustics, particularly artificial reverberation.
Collective experiences shape human behavior in our everyday lives. Recent psychological and neurological studies have shown that the collective experience is quantifiable and a driver for central parts of communal life. Multiple challenges are attached to measure collective experiences explaining the recent advancements. Researchers have increasingly sought to investigate responses to socially potent stimuli, such as music, in more naturalistic contexts than in a traditional psychology lab. A concert setting provides a promising context to which research focusing on the perception and experience of music can be extended. Not only does it afford one possible naturalistic setting for music listening, but live performances can evoke more potent emotional responses and offer a more immersive experience.
Although people are not often aware of it, the surrounding spatial context modulates their perception, cognition, and emotion in their everyday life. Performing and listening to music occurs in specific situations requiring particular media. The acoustics affect the musical signal heard by the musician and the audience. Simultaneously, the co-location in the same room creates a joint audience-performer collective experience. We hypothesize that the property of the room acoustics strongly mediates this experience. An augmented acoustics system can alter the room acoustics in real-time, allowing gradual changes to critical room acoustic dimensions. More specifically, we hypothesize that the acoustic enables or impairs the degree of collective experience.
All candidates must be fluent in spoken and written English.
- Very good in scientific writing and communication skills
- Eligible for Ph.D. study at Aalto University
An ideal candidate has an M.Sc. in psychology or engineering.
- Knowledge of physiological measurements, practical signal processing (Matlab or Python), and user experience are strong advantages.
An ideal candidate has an M.Sc. in engineering (e.g., acoustics, signal processing, computer science, mathematics, physics).
- Knowledge of audio signal processing (Matlab or Python) and room acoustics are strong advantages.
The nominal time for Ph.D. at Aalto University is 4 years. The applicant needs to be eligible for Ph.D. study at Aalto University (https://into.aalto.fi/display/endoctoralelec/How+to+apply#Howtoapply-Eligibility
The position will be filled for a period of 4 years (2+2). The starting date is in September 2023 or as mutually agreed. The salary will be based on both the job requirements and the employee’s performance in accordance with the salary system of Finnish universities. The starting salary for a Ph.D. student is approximately 2600 EUR/month.
We offer a wide range of staff benefits, such as occupational health care, flexible working hours, excellent sports facilities on campus, and several restaurants and cafés on campus with staff discounts. The position is located at the Aalto University Otaniemi campus, which can be easily reached by public transport.
The Aalto Acoustics Laboratory
The Aalto Acoustics Lab is a multidisciplinary research center of the Aalto University. The Acoustics Lab has world-class facilities, including 3 anechoic rooms (one of them equipped with 45 loudspeakers), a variable acoustic room, a standard listening room, and a lot of measurement equipment. Our research and teaching cover many topics, although the main focus is audio processing, room acoustics, and spatial sound technologies.
Aalto University is a multidisciplinary community where science and art meet technology and business. Aalto University offers the selected candidate an innovative and ambitious research environment with the best scientists in their fields. Aalto, having about 20 000 students and 4 500 employees, is in Espoo, 11 minutes by metro from downtown Helsinki. Diversity is part of who we are, and we actively work to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness. This is why we warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to join our community. Finland is known for its excellent social security system and beautiful nature. For the selected candidate, assistance for finding accommodation can be given.
How to Apply
Please, provide the following attachments as separate documents along with your application:
- 1-page motivation letter specific to this call
- CV with a possible list of publications and the title of your MSc thesis
- Transcript of records
- List of references and reference letters
If you already work at Aalto University, please apply via our internal Workday system (Internal Jobs).
Application open from June 26th, 2023. The deadline for applications is August 10th, 2023 - the evaluation process of the applications will start after this. Questions regarding this position: email@example.com
In recruitment process related questions please contact HR Advisor Monika Mäkinen, firstname.lastname@example.org
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