Expressive timing in music

This project is funded by a Sheffield University ‘wider participation’ grant which supports the development of an interactive music performance analysis demonstration allowing participants to explore performance expression in two domains: jazzy swing and romantic rubato.

With years of experience and practice, musicians gain implicit knowledge about where to speed up or slow down in music, when to lengthen or shorten notes, and where to place accents for special effect. As listeners, we are accustomed to these micro-scale variations in music, and are not necessarily aware of the extent to which performers vary their timing and tempo for expressive effect. Although the exact characteristics of a performance depend on a musician’s individual interpretation of the music, there are certain regularities or rules that are commonly observed across different performances within a particular genre. The rise of digital tools in music analysis has allowed a (semi-)automatic investigation of such performance characteristics, and consequently has deepened our understanding of performance processes.

Further info

  • Research group: Music Mind Machine
  • Principal Investigator: Renee Timmers, Department of Music, University of Sheffield
  • Dates: Feb 2014 – Jun 2014 (part-time)

Selected works

  • R. Timmers and A. V. Beeston, “Tap with jazzy swing and romantic rubato: An interactive demonstration of expressive timing in music,” in Digital Humanities Congress, Sheffield, UK. Oral presentation. 4-6 Sep, 2014.
    [BibTeX]
    @inproceedings{Timmers:2014dhc,
    author = {Timmers, Renee and Beeston, Amy V},
    title = {{Tap with jazzy swing and romantic rubato: An interactive demonstration of expressive timing in music}},
    booktitle = {{Digital Humanities Congress}},
    year = {2014},
    address = {Sheffield, UK. Oral presentation. 4-6 Sep},
    month = sep
    }

  • R. Timmers and A. V. Beeston, “Music and science taster session,” in Open day, Department of Music, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. Software demonstration. 7 Jul, 2014.
    [BibTeX]
    @inproceedings{Timmers:2014mmm,
    author = {Timmers, Renee and Beeston, Amy V},
    title = {{Music and science taster session}},
    booktitle = {{Open day, Department of Music, University of Sheffield}},
    year = {2014},
    address = {Sheffield, UK. Software demonstration. 7 Jul},
    month = jul
    }

Renee Timmers - tapping demo (Honing and Haas, 2009)