Professor London’s research interests include rhythm and meter, music perception and cognition, and musical aesthetics.
Current Collaborative Research Projects
PerformingTime: Synchrony and Temporal Flow in Music and Dance
Book project, co-edited with Clemens Wöllner (University of Hamburg); under contract for publication with Oxford University Press. The volume will address how experiences of time and temporality are modulated in music and dance, and how these experiences relate to current psychological and neuro-scientific theories as well as aesthetic concepts.
Microtiming, Meter, and Ensemble Coordination in West African Percussion Music
Ongoing collaborative research with Rainer Polak and Nori Jacoby (Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt). Our current research has developed a cross-culturally comparative perspective on structures of micro-rhythmic asymmetry — colloquially referred to as rhythmic “feel” or “swing” — in Malian percussion ensemble music. We use cross-correlation analyses of micro-timing shifts to determine who is leading and who is following within the drum ensemble, and how attentional resources are optimized amongst the members of the ensemble.
Time: Timing and Sound in Musical Microrhythm
Collaborative research project with Anne Danielsen (PI) at the University of Oslo. This project explores the microstructure of musical sounds, such as temporal shape, intensity, and timbre, and the ways they influence our sense of when a sound occurs in time. This in turn will affect how we are able to hear the ebb and flow of a series of sounds, and how we can coordinate our attention and action with them.
Auditory and Visual Factors in Musical Tempo Judgments
Collaborative research with Petri Toiviainen, Birgitta Burger, Marc Thompson, and Emily Carlson (University of Jyväskylä, Finland). This project, initially supported by a Finnish Fulbright Core Scholars Grant is a sustained investigation into cross-modal cues for tempo and motion. Work began in Finland in 2014 used motion capture to assess the effect of tempo on participants’ movements and used movement data to construct stimuli for perceptual experiments. Findings to date are that visual information, a listener’s dance background, and self-motion can affect tempo judgments. We also discovered a curious distortion of tempo perception for recorded stimuli whose tempo has been digitally altered. Publications of this research have appeared in Acta Psychologica, Attention, Percepetion & Psychophysics, Psychological Review, and Music Perception. This research has involved Carleton College undergraduate research assistants Katherine Jones (’10), Emily Cogsdill (’11), Eleanor Dollear (’16), Molly Hildreth (’17), and Nick Schally (’19).
Collaborative research with Laurel Trainor at the LiveLab, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario). Using a dance performance choreographed for this study, we will examine the ways that dancer coordination/synchronization can be affected by both musical tempo and a dancer’s own intentions re coordination and synchrony. Research was done in conjunction with the NeuroMusic17 conference.