Part II projects 2008/2009

Online experimental platform for musical psychoacoustics

Violin Listening Experiment
To create a software platform that can be used to administer calibrated audio perception experiments from an arbitrary PC, via a web interface.

Several groups in Cambridge carry out research in musical psychoacoustics, where precise auditory stimuli (sounds of instruments or musical phrases) must be listened to under conditions that can be reproduced reliably. In general, this means using the same PC, audio card and speakers for all experimental subjects, which constrains the experiments to being carried out in a laboratory. It would be a valuable and challenging project to create a software reference platform that can compute, deliver, manage and analyse controlled auditory stimuli on any PC, to allow a wide variety of experiments to be administered online, with subjects using their own PCs. The system would require realtime audio filter processing, to reduce latency and to remove the need to deliver large numbers of high resolution audio files over the internet. This would involve Java implementation of a range of digital filters, to give either "graphic equaliser" displays, or to simulate the resonances of, for example, a violin or guitar body. The project would involve exploring the limitations of such realtime audio processing, as well as providing tools for experiment administration and reporting.

This project is related to the virtual violins research programme, (see Cambridge Research Horizons Autumn 2008 page 26) and may interest students involved in music. However, no musical knowledge is required. Specialist advice on signal processing will be available.

Prof Jim Woodhouse, Department of Engineering.

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