Aug 18 2017

Tune Me In Article – July 2017

An article recently published on incongruence in music. Article can be downloaded here.

Thanks, Mark


Jun 15 2017

APSCOM6 Conference Paper for KYOTO 25-27th August

APSCOM6 Conference Paper for KYOTO 25-27th August

Excited to be presenting my research at APSCOM6, Asia-Pacific Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, August 25-27, in Kyoto, Japan. The theme is Music as a universal human faculty: Exploring its biological, psychological, and cultural dimensions. Click above for a link to the full paper.

Conference details

Cognitive sciences on music is a field of study which aims to clarify such aspects as perception/cognition, thinking, feeling, the mechanism and process of development which serve to mediate music. Depending on the object of research, a multi-disciplinary approach can be adopted incorporating such fields as psychology, brain science, acoustics, information engineering, medicine, physiology and musicology.

The conference is therefore open to everyone from all fields of study and from around the world. In APSCOM 6, there will be key note lectures, research presentations, and concerts such as jazz, gamelan, gagaku, and didgeridoo. The theme of APSCOM 6 will be “Music as a universal human faculty: Exploring its biological, psychological, and cultural dimensions” Since ancient times, music has been with human beings.

Through studies of the musical faculties of human beings, we aim to explore the great potential of human beings. We are therefore awaiting presentations and lively discussions on this theme. Kyoto Women’s University, located near the famous Honganji temple, is a Buddhist university with a history of 105 years. The university is in the center of Kyoto city and has easy access to the Kyoto National Museum which will hold some of the APSCOM 6 events.


Jun 2 2017

Do Y’wanna ‘Know’ What I ‘Know’? – A Christmas Case Study of Musical Irony

Do Y’wanna Know What I Know – A Christmas Case Study Of Musical Irony

Do Y’wanna Know What I Know – A Christmas Case Study Of Musical Irony from Australian Music Psychology Society Newsletter Edition 5, 2016 – Mark Baynes.

Spoiler alert – if you love Christmas carols then please read no further. In the book, The evolution of emotional communication, Altenmuller, Schmidt, and Zimmermann suggest that emotional responses of basic emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, anger, fear) are ‘remarkably invariant across listeners of different ages’ (2013, p.277). Juslin and Sloboda found that ‘the ascribed emotion of a music performance could be well predicted from a fairly small set of characteristics, relating to pitch, speed, intensity, and articulation etc.’, and that these characteristics are also used to evaluate emotions in a person’s speech (Juslin & Sloboda, 2011, p.84). But in Expression of emotion in music and vocal communication: Introduction to the research topic, Bhatara, Laukka, and Levitin agree that emotions resulting from incongruent songs (containing incongruent interaction between music and lyrics) are more complex than basic emotions, due to the ironic context from which they are experienced (2014, p.212).

“Incongruent interactions transform meaning from what might be gleaned from listening to either the music or the lyrics alone…incongruent interactions make messages more poignant and can serve as an anthem for social movements…however, incongruent interactions run the risk of listener misinterpretation” (Herrmann and Herbig, 2016, p.72). For example, incongruence can be found in a track entitled Perfect day (Reed, 1972), where the subtext of the song alludes to a premise that the singer’s day is made ‘perfect’ from an addiction to opiates. The musical accompaniment is innocent but the lyrical meaning is darker. Another example is Do you hear what I hear? made famous by Bing Crosby in the 1960’s. On one level, this is simply a contemporary Christmas song, arguably an interpretation of Christian nativity. Lyrical indicators in this carol that corroborate this interpretation include phrases such as “Shepherd boy”, “A star dancing in the night”, “Mighty king”, and “A child shivers in the cold”. With the exception of the military style drumming the music accompaniment could easily be described as initially calm, choral and reflective, moving towards a denser climatic finale using strings, a transposition up a minor second, use of a brass section, and increased counterpoint.

Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker composed this carol during the period of unease caused by the Cuban missile crisis and its lyrics reflect a message for peace. Ironically (and anecdotally) Bing Crosby recorded his vocals to the song on November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas (see https://www.carols.org.uk/do-you-hear-what-i-hear.htm). Non-congruence is effective in providing the listener with mixed messages, arguably interpreted as irony through a darker twist of a seemingly positive message. In the case of Do you hear what I hear, the lyrics “A star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite” now suggests images of war; a nuclear missile heading towards an innocent narrator perhaps, rather than a navigational constellation and interstellar awe. Likewise, the lyrics “A song, song, high above the tree with a voice as big as the sea”, infers images of a thermonuclear explosion, rather than a choral culmination.

This was a surprise, and the psychological affect that this song has on me is forever changed. In Sweet anticipation, David Huron states, “The phenomenon of ‘surprise’ represents a failure of expectation. From a biological perspective, surprise is always a bad thing. Even when the surprising outcome turns out to be good, failing to anticipate the outcome means that the brain has failed to provide useful information about possible futures. Predictive failures are therefore cause for biological alarm. If an animal is to be prepared for the future, the best surprise is no surprise” (Huron, 2006, p.21). From a phenomenological perspective, my lived experience of listening to Do you hear what I hear? after my hermeneutical epiphany, is quite different from my initial listen – the snare drum has much more significance, clearly inferring military action, and the lyrics far more sobering. The surprise that I felt gave salience to my perception of this track, and has continued to do so every listen since.

References

Altenmuller, E., & Schmidt S., & Zimmermann E. (2013). The Evolution of Emotional Communication: From Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man. Oxford University Press.

Bhatara, A., Laukka, P., & Levitin, D. J. (2014). Expression of emotion in music and vocal communication: Introduction to the research topic. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 399. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00399

Huron, D. (2006). Sweet anticipation: Music and the psychology of expectation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Herrmann, A. and Herbig, A. (2016). Communication Perspectives on Popular Culture. Lexington Books.

Juslin P.N., & Sloboda J. (2011). Handbook of Music and Emotion: Theory, Research, and Applications. Oxford University Press.

Reed, L. (1972). Transformer. RCA, London.


Oct 11 2016

Programme Manager – Bachelor of Musical Arts @ MAINZ

 

mainz-for-webI have recently accepted the post of Programme Manager for the Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree, at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ), part of Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

This role predominately involves researching, running, and developing the music degree offered at MAINZ, which has a contemporary music focus.

Unfortunately this means that I am no longer able to teach piano privately any more. If you wish to study at MAINZ however, drop me a line on markb@tpp.ac.nz


Dec 7 2015

Alicia Keys and Contrastive Valence in ‘Fallin’

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Click the link above to watch my new video on contrastive valence on www.psychologyinmusic.com.  Wondered when singing flat was a good thing? Wondered when a wrong note is actually the right note?

Please support my new venture, www.psychologyinmusic.com.  This is a new website containing videos and articles linking music and psychology.  The aim is to create a set of videos that outline techniques, grounded in psychology, that can be used by performers, composers and arrangers.  All articles are grounded in recent research; in this site, the bias is on musical tools rather than academic discourse.  Psychology in music is very young, and study of it is really exciting!  Please visit the site at www.psychologyinmusic.com and subscribe if you like what you see!  I will be uploading more videos this week; the first one is a psychological analysis of the bridge of Fallin’, by Alicia Keys.

Thanks for supporting my music.

Dr Mark Baynes


Nov 24 2015

Psychology In Music

Please support my new venture, www.psychologyinmusic.com.  This is a new website containing videos and articles linking music and psychology.  The aim is to create a set of videos that outline techniques, grounded in psychology, that can be used by performers, composers and arrangers.  All articles are grounded in recent research; in this site, the bias is on musical tools rather than academic discourse.  Psychology in music is very young, and study of it is really exciting!  Please visit the site at www.psychologyinmusic.com and subscribe if you like what you see!  I will be uploading more videos this week; the first one is a psychological analysis of the bridge of Fallin’, by Alicia Keys.

Thanks for supporting my music.

Dr Mark Baynes

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Nov 12 2015

Vintage Key Studios

Please support my new venture, Vintage Key Studios. As you may be aware, I have been collecting vintage keyboard instruments for several years, and now I am in a position where I can offer recording services.  Please read the welcome page below and visit the site, if you get a chance.

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Welcome to Vintage Key Studios (www.vintagekeystudios.com)

Vintage Key Studios specialise in the recording of quality vintage keyboards. Situated in Auckland, New Zealand, we can either record you on one of our instruments here in the studio, or we can record the session for you, using our house keys player Mark Baynes. Please read about each of the keyboard instruments we have on offer by clicking on the links.

Tired of the thinness of plugin keyboard instruments? Want a real keyboard sound in your mix?
Then maybe this service is for you. Previous clients include Tiny Ruins, Anika Moa, Tim Finn, King Kapisi, Kora, Henrique Morales and Seth Haapu. We use high end Apogee digital converters, top shelf microphones (Neuman U87, AKG C414s, and an Earthworks PM-40), and Avalon, Vintage Ampex and Universal Audio preamps. Your sound can be recorded clean or subject to a variety of tube/vintage stages, adding as much warmth as required. Our tracking booth is also available for vocal/instrumental tracking. Even our studio furnishing was built using parts from an old upright piano!

Files can be transferred and payment made online, so you can order your recordings from anywhere around the world. This is a boutique business that only survives through our passion for preserving quality instruments, as we believe that no other solution is really good enough!

Please drop us a line if you wan’t to find out more; thanks for stopping by.

Mark @ Vintage Key Studios.


Jul 14 2015

Performing with US production of Chicago the musical – June to August 2015

I am lucky enough to be performing piano and accordion with a US touring production of Chicago, the musical, here in Seoul Korea. The venue is the prestigious National Theatre of Korea. I will be here for one more month.  The band is excellent, all UK-based musicians from the West End of London.  The cast, some of whom have been playing their roles for over a decade, have experience on Broadway and previous touring productions on Chicago.  The MD is Robert Billig, a stalwart in the New York Broadway scene.

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May 14 2015

Analytic, Descriptive and Prescriptive Components of Evolving Jazz – A New Model Based on the Works of Brad Mehldau

Download Here

Analytic, Descriptive and Prescriptive Components of Evolving Jazz – A New Model Based on the Works of Brad Mehldau

My Doctor of Musical Arts Thesis, abstract below:-

Jazz has steadily evolved from its inception in the late 19th century to the present. As is the case for other genres, musicological analytic research on jazz evolution has lagged behind its practice; consequently, there is a paucity of in-depth descriptive and analytic research on the music of recent innovators. Among the most recent examples of this evolution, the works of Brad Mehldau as a solo/ensemble pianist and as a composer arguably embody some of the most compelling innovations in the field. Non-academically oriented jazz writers and fans have consistently assigned these works vanguard status, but Mehldau’s output has not yet been sufficiently examined to prescribe performance methods. This exegesis contains (1) descriptive analysis of improvisation contained within a broad cross-section of Mehldau’s music; (2) definition of a new analytical lexicon derived from a holistic study of consonance, dissonance, and research into perceived motivation in music; and (3) prescriptive musical tools relating to consonance and dissonance that have informed the researcher’s performance.

 


Apr 4 2015

Tiny Ruins – Brightly Painted One

Tiny-Ruins-Brightly-Painted-One

Pleased to play a small part in the making of this album.  Check out ‘Straw Into Gold’ for the keyboard part, played on my restored Wurlitzer 200.

Tiny Ruins began as an alias for singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook, who had recorded as a solo artist prior to 2009. Fullbrook recorded a collaborative EP with A Singer of Songs in 2010 under the name Tiny Ruins, then recorded a full-length, Some Were Meant for Sea, in 2011. Following the release of Some Were Meant for Sea Tiny Ruins opened for Fleet Foxes and toured internationally with Calexico and Beach House. After adding Cass Basil and Alexander Freer to the lineup, Tiny Ruins recorded a second album, Brightly Painted One, which was released in 2014. Guitarist Tom Healy and violinist Siobhanne Thompson performed on the album and appeared with the group on subsequent tours. Brightly Painted One was awarded Best Alternative Album at the New Zealand Music Awards in November 2014.