The Musical Escape: Algorithmic Music Generation for Music Induced Imagination

2022_027_MARCS

The MARCS Institute

Lead Researcher: Dr Steffen A. Herff

About the project

The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour, and Development is offering a research scholarship to a highly motivated PhD candidate to work within the Music Cognition and Action group, on a project examining how music can affect and support imagination.

Imagination plays a pivotal role in creativity as well as self-regulation. Yet, despite its important role throughout cognition, imagination is still ill-understood as it is notoriously difficult to systematically induce and measure. The project will leverage the fact that music can reliably induce imagination to explore its underlying mechanisms, and aims to deepen our understanding of both imagination as well as music.

The successful candidate will be utilising state of the art insights on music-induced imagination to create music generation systems that induce user-specified imagination.

The position is planned to start before the end of 2022 and is supervised by Dr. Steffen A. Herff.

The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development is an interdisciplinary research institute of Western Sydney University. The vision for MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development is to optimise human interaction and wellbeing across the lifespan. We strive to solve the problems that matter most through the themes sensing and perceiving, interacting with each other, and technologies for humans. The vibrant and interdisciplinary nature of the Institute’s research brings together staff and students from all 3 clusters including the disciplines cognitive science, developmental psychology, language science, music science, cognitive neuroscience, and biomedical, electrical, electronic and software engineering.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
  • International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver.
  • Support for conference attendance, fieldwork and additional costs as approved by the Institute.

International candidates are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC)(opens in new window)Opens in a new window insurance policy for the duration their study in Australia. This cost is not covered by the scholarship.

Eligibility criteria

We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are interested in algorithmic music generation and empirical methodology and are keen to understand how music affects imagination. The position focuses on utilising state of the art insights on music-induced imagination to create a music generation system that induces user-specified imagination.

The successful applicant should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) a Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent international qualifications.
  • demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to one (or more) of the following: music generation systems, audio engineering, coding, musicology.
  • have experience with coding languages as well as algorithmic composition (e.g., proficiency in Python or MaxMSP or other environment and has already implemented some kind of algorithmic sound composition system).
  • be willing to learn experimental methodologies and Bayesian data analysis techniques.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level and have a strong interest in music.

How to apply

Get familiar with the general process of how to apply for a project scholarship(opens in new window)Opens in a new window.

Then, compile the following into one PDF and send to Dr Steffen Herff: s.herff@westernsydney.edu.au (subject line: PhD Application – Lastname):

  • Motivation letter (max 1 page)
  • CV (no photo)
  • A sample of your previous academic writing in English (this can be any topic and does not have to be related to the project. E.g., a Bachelor or Master’s thesis, a report written within a course, project documentation, or a publication)

When you are ready to apply, follow the step-by-step instructions on the how to apply for a project scholarship(opens in new window)Opens in a new window page.

  • Note: You do not need to complete 'Step 5: Submit an online application for admission' when applying for this scholarship. You must complete 'Step 6: Submit an online application for a project scholarship'.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.

For questions and advice about the research project, please contact the Lead Researcher;
Dr Steffen Herff: s.herff@westernsydney.edu.au

For questions and advice about the application process, please contact the Graduate Research School: grs.scholarships@westernsydney.edu.au.

Applications close 31 August 2022

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

Scholarship reference code: 2022_027_MARCS