Postdoc in Cognitive and Computational Musicology, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

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The Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam, provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in the field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the Faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. There are almost 1,000 employees affiliated with the Faculty, which has about 8,000 students.

Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)
The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a research institute of the University of Amsterdam, in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. ILLC’s central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Emphasis is on natural and formal languages, but other information carriers, such as images and music, are studied as well. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and philosophy.

The ILLC invites applications for a Postdoc in Cognitive and Computational Musicology

The postdoctoral researcher will take part in a collaborative research project cutting across the boundaries between music cognition and computer science. The project named COGITCH (COgnition Guided Interoperability beTween Collections of musical Heritage) was recently funded by NWO-CATCH and is a collaboration of the Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, The Meertens Institute, Netherlands Public Broadcasting, and Sound & Vision. It aims to develop generic techniques for relating music from different Dutch music collections. In developing retrieval methods, we will take a top-down approach, working from musical knowledge and cognitive psychology towards the identification and processing of audio features. On-line annotations provided by listeners will support establishing the relationships between ‘hooks’ (perceptually salient musical patterns) and the music.

A web-based environment, so-called ITCH environment (Identification, Tagging and Characterisation of Hooks) will be designed and constructed to obtain large amounts of judgments from the lay audience on what makes a fragment of music easily recognizable and/or stick in one’s mind. This will allow for evaluating —in an empirical and controlled way— the explanatory power of cognitive models of melody and rhythm perception in their prediction of what structural (e.g., pitch, key, rhythm, meter) and non-structural (e.g., associative, emotional, cultural) aspects of a melody play a role in the memorization, recall and appreciation of music. Next to coordinating the development of the ITCH environment, the candidate will occasionally contribute to courses related to music cognition and the computational humanities.


  • Completed Doctoral degree in a relevant field, such as music cognition, music technology, cognitive science or computer science;
  • Keen interest in the field of music cognition and/or music technology and a strong ambition to do scientific research;
  • Publications in peer-reviewed journals or with established academic journals;
  • Demonstrable skills in computational modeling;
  • Excellent academic writing and presentation skills;
  • Excellent social and organizational skills.

Further information
A detailed description of the research programme can be found on the Music Cognition Group-website; please see the ‘Refer To:’-section below. For further information about the position feel free to contact prof. dr. H. Honing,

The Postdoc position will be on a temporary basis for the period of three years. The starting date will be December 1st 2011. The gross monthly salary will be between €3195 and 4374 [‘Onderzoeker 3’; salary scale 11] in case of a full-time position (38 hours/week). Depending on experience and date of completion of the PhD an appointment as ‘Onderzoeker 4’ (salary scale 10) may (initially) be necessary. Secondary benefits at Dutch universities are attractive and include holiday pay and an end of year bonus.

Job application
Applications including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, two letters of reference, and two key publications should be received by us October 16th 2011 at the latest. The cover letter should contain an indication of the research plan the candidate proposes to carry out. Please send your documents to the attention of the vice-dean of the Faculty of Humanities, prof. dr. J.W. van Henten, Spuistraat 210, 1012 VT Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Please state the vacancy number and ‘strictly confidential’ in the upper left corner of the envelope.

You may also submit your application by e-mail: Please state the vacancy number (W11-175) in the subject field.

For more information, please visit official website:


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