IPEM: Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music

Music offers profound pleasure and value to human beings; it supports expression and emotion, leads to strong experiences, and has powerful effects on social, cognitive and motor functions.
At IPEM, we study music from the viewpoint of humans’ lived, embodied interactions with music; ‘the body in action’.

IPEM’s research vision

XR: New spaces for embodied interaction with music and creative culture

XR create immersive and multisensory environments, objects, avatars, and agents. Using bodily interaction technologies Encompass both simulations of existing physical spaces, or spaces that spring from creative imagination . At IPEM, we explore how these spaces may function as innovative research labs, museums, and concert halls of the future.

MusiXR (a music research lab of the future)

Human music interaction exhibits various patterns of coordinated activity; in sound, bodily movement and (neuro)physiological responses. Adopting XR as core methodological tool in empirical-cognitive musicology, we try to understand the foundations of how coordinated patterns emerge and evolve over time, and how this creates value in humans’ subjective experience.


Improving a healthy lifestyle through creativity and art

To build and sustain a healthy and active life, motivation and successful motor control are of utmost importance. As music taps into the human cognitive, emotional, social, and sensorimotor capacities of human beings, we belief that it can contribute substantially to an active and healthy life.

At IPEM, we explore how music and musical feedback systems (sonification strategies) may be of benefit for sports activities (running, cycling, body building, etc.) as well as for cognitive and motor rehabilitation in clinical populations, such as Parkinson disease, Alzheimer, stroke, multiple sclerose, and developmental coordination disorder patients.

XRhive (a museum of the future)

Cultural heritage connects us to our past, shapes individual and collective narratives, and raises cross-cultural awareness. Using XR as technological framework, our ambition is to develop an interaction-based approach to cultural heritage preservation, embedding and valuing heritage in a living culture of human interaction; what we call a “living archive”.


Embodied interaction with the cultural past in meaningful ways

Cultural heritage provides concrete and tangible connections to our past. It shapes individual and collective narratives and values, and raises cross-cultural awareness and exchanges.

At IPEM, we develop an art-science-technology framework for innovating cultural heritage preservation in the broad domain of performance art. The central ambition is to complement traditional “document-based heritage” with “interaction-based heritage”, embedding and valuing heritage in a living culture of human interaction and experience; what we call a “living archive”.

We use cutting-edge digital tools and technologies to foster this interaction-based approach to cultural heritage and the re-creation of cultural value. This endeavor is fundamentally interdisciplinary as technology-development is informed by knowledge on the cultural and historical object and art praxis (art-science) and by knowledge on principles drive human interaction with art and culture, such as expressivity, reward, etc.

XRt (a concert hall of the future)

Spurred by the creative impulses of artists, IPEM wants to be at the forefront of art-science research on XR-based forms of experience and interaction in the arts. By exploring the possibilities of immersive audiovisual displays, bodily interaction technologies, and data networks, we want to proactively innovate practices in the cultural-creative sector.


Studying and augmenting human interaction in XR musical environments

XR multimodal displays allow simulating existing real-life musical environments, creating for users the feeling of actually being present in this context. XR displays may also create radically new immersive, multimodal and imaginary environments for users. Complemented with motion capture technologies and high-speed data networks, it becomes possible for users to (socially) interact in a highly embodied manner, within an XR environment, even when they are not physically together. In addition, virtual agents in all shapes and colors may be created to interact creatively in real time with users. Given these possibilities, we consider XR environments as a radically new space for the study and practice of creative and artistic interactions.

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At IPEM, we want to study human interactions within these XR musical environments. The ability to accurately simulate multimodal environments, to control the behavior of virtual agents therein, and to create scenarios which are otherwise impossible in our physical environment, turns XR into a performance space that radically extents research frontiers in empirical and cognitive musicology.

From churches in Medieval times to classical concert halls and digital IPods, musical practices and experiences have always been shaped by the spaces in which they occurred. XR unlocks a new space that holds enormous possibilities for music experience and interaction. By integrating scientific knowledge with the creative spark of artists and the possibilities of new technologies, IPEM wants to be at the forefront in developing new, XR-based forms of experience and interaction, innovating practices in the cultural-creative sector.



Rosso, Mattia; Heggli, Ole A.; Maes, Pieter-Jan; Vuust, Peter; Leman, Marc

Mutual beta power modulation in dyadic entrainment Journal Article

In: NEUROIMAGE, vol. 257, pp. 12, 2022, ISSN: 1053-8119.

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Rosso, Mattia; Maes, Pieter-Jan; Leman, Marc

Modality-specific attractor dynamics in dyadic entrainment Journal Article

In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 13, 2021, ISSN: 2045-2322.

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Kerrebroeck, Bavo Van; Caruso, Giusy; Maes, Pieter-Jan

A methodological framework for assessing social presence in music interactions in virtual reality Journal Article

In: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 12, pp. 19, 2021, ISSN: 1664-1078.

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Onderdijk, Kelsey E.; Swarbrick, Dana; Kerrebroeck, Bavo Van; Mantei, Maximillian; Vuoskoski, Jonna K.; Maes, Pieter-Jan; Leman, Marc

Livestream experiments : the role of COVID-19, agency, presence, and social context in facilitating social connectedness Journal Article

In: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 12, pp. 25, 2021, ISSN: 1664-1078.

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Kerrebroeck, Bavo Van; Maes, Pieter-Jan

A breathing sonification system to reduce stress during the COVID-19 pandemic Journal Article

In: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 12, pp. 9, 2021, ISSN: 1664-1078.

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Rosso, Mattia; Leman, Marc; Moumddjian, Lousin

Neural entrainment meets behavior : the stability index as a neural outcome measure of auditory-motor coupling Journal Article

In: FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 15, pp. 13, 2021, ISSN: 1662-5161.

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Dell'Anna, Alessandro; Leman, Marc; Berti, Annamaria

Musical interaction reveals music as embodied language Journal Article

In: FRONTIERS IN NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 15, pp. 16, 2021, ISSN: 1662-453X.

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Michalko, Aleksandra; Campo, Adriaan; Dyck, Edith Van; Leman, Marc

What is technology in music instrument education good for: a survey for violin and drum teachers on technology use Inproceedings

In: ICMPC-ESCOM2021, Abstracts, pp. 2, Online, 2021.

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Caruso, Giusy; Nijs, Luc; Leman, Marc

'My avatar and me' : technology-enhanced mirror in monitoring music performance practice Incollection

In: Hepworth-Sawyer, Russ; Paterson, Justin; Toulson, Rob (Ed.): Innovation in music : future opportunities, pp. 355–370, Focal Press - Routledge, 2021, ISSN: 2572-8628.

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Dyck, Edith Van; Moens, Bart; Maes, Pieter-Jan

De kracht van geluid : muziek als stimulans voor een gezonde levensstijl Miscellaneous

2020, ISSN: 0772-0084.

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Kerrebroeck, Bavo Van; Rosso, Mattia; Maes, Pieter-Jan

Linking embodied coordination dynamics and subjective experiences in musical interactions : a renewed methodological paradigm Journal Article

In: DOCUMENTA, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 38–60, 2020, ISSN: 0771-8640.

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Dell'Anna, Alessandro; Buhmann, Jeska; Six, Joren; Maes, Pieter-Jan; Leman, Marc

Timing markers of interaction quality during semi-hocket singing Journal Article

In: FRONTIERS IN NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 14, pp. 13, 2020, ISSN: 1662-453X.

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Winne, Jorg De; Filipan, Karlo; Moens, Bart; Devos, Paul; Leman, Marc; Botteldooren, Dick; Coensel, Bert De

The soundscape hackathon as a methodology to accelerate co-creation of the urban public space Journal Article

In: APPLIED SCIENCES-BASEL, vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 19, 2020, ISSN: 2076-3417.

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Maes, Pieter-Jan; Wanderley, Marcelo; Palmer, Carolline; Leman, Marc

Les effets de l’action sur la perception de la musique Miscellaneous

2019, ISSN: 1638-556X.

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Lorenzoni, Valerio; Staley, Jacob; Marchant, Thierry; Onderdijk, Kelsey E.; Maes, Pieter-Jan; Leman, Marc

The sonic instructor : a music-based biofeedback system for improving weightlifting technique Journal Article

In: PLOS ONE, vol. 14, no. 8, 2019, ISSN: 1932-6203.

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Maes, Pieter-Jan; Lorenzoni, Valerio; Six, Joren

The SoundBike : musical sonification strategies to enhance cyclists’ spontaneous synchronization to external music Journal Article

In: JOURNAL ON MULTIMODAL USER INTERFACES, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 155–166, 2019, ISSN: 1783-7677.

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Lorenzoni, Valerio; den Berghe, Pieter Van; Maes, Pieter-Jan; Bie, Tijl De; Clercq, Dirk De; Leman, Marc

Design and validation of an auditory biofeedback system for modification of running parameters Journal Article

In: JOURNAL ON MULTIMODAL USER INTERFACES, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 167–180, 2019, ISSN: 1783-7677.

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Coorevits, Esther; Moelants, Dirk; Maes, Pieter-Jan; Leman, Marc

Exploring the effect of tempo-changes on violinists’ body movements Journal Article

In: MUSICAE SCIENTIAE, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 87–110, 2019, ISSN: 1029-8649.

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Moumddjian, Lousin; Moens, Bart; Vanzeir, Ellen; Klerck, Beatrijs De; Feys, Peter; Leman, Marc

A model of different cognitive processes during spontaneous and intentional coupling to music in multiple sclerosis Journal Article

In: ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, vol. 1445, no. 1, pp. 27–38, 2019, ISSN: 0077-8923.

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Maes, Pieter-Jan; Nijs, Luc; Leman, Marc

A conceptual framework for music-based interaction systems Incollection

In: Springer handbook in systematic musicology, pp. 793–804, Springer, 2018, ISSN: 2522-8692.

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