Dr Renee Timmers

image of Renee Timmers

Department of Music
The University of Sheffield
Jessop Building
34 Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 0477

Email : r.timmers@sheffield.ac.uk


Since 2009, I am a Lecturer, now Senior Lecturer, in Psychology of Music in Sheffield. I teach psychology related modules at UG and PG level including music perception and psychology of performance, and direct the distance learning MAs Music Psychology in Education and Psychology for Musicians. With Prof. Dibben, I established the research centre “Music Mind Machine in Sheffield” to promote collaboration and exchange across faculties and disciplines between people with shared interests in cognition and music. I am committed to establish an active research-led teaching and learning community, where students of different levels can blossom by learning from each other as well as from internal and visiting academics, and by learning through close encounters with successful research.

My first degree was in Musicology (MA), which I studied in Amsterdam. Thereafter, I pursued a PhD in Psychology (Social Sciences) at the Radboud University Nijmegen. As a member of the Music Mind Machine group, I was involved in collaborative research combining perspectives and methods from psychology, computer science and music theory to investigate perception and cognition of music. My main focus was on (cognitive) rules that underlie the expressive timing of music, but also the freedom that performers have within these rules.
After my PhD, I was a postdoctoral researcher for six years at institutes in Italy (University of Genoa), Austria (OEFAI), the UK (KCL), the Netherlands (Radboud University) and the USA (Northwestern University). I worked at departments of music, psychology and computer science gaining relevant cross-disciplinary experience. My research focused on the communication of emotions through music performance, including a comparison of emotional expression in early and later recordings of Schubert songs, and the development of automated visual feedback on expressive performance.

My current research projects investigate interactions between cognition and emotion in music listening, cross-modal perception of music, and expressive timing of music. My aim is to work towards applications of music psychological findings, including investigations of perception of emotion in listeners with hearing impairment, and training programs for timing music expressively.

Academic Roles

  • Editor of Empirical Musicology Review
  • Associate editor of Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain.
  • Member of editorial board Journal of New Music Research and Psychology of Music.

Research interests

  • Music and emotion
  • Embodied cognition and cross-modal correspondences with music
  • Music perception and cognition, including neuroanatomy of perception
  • Timing and expressive performance of music

Current projects

  • Cross-modal perception of music (with Zohar Eitan, Nicola Dibben and Roni Granot)
  • BioHybrid Humans (student network with Social Sciences, Psychology, and Chemical and Biological Engineering).
  • Music perception in listeners with a cochlear implant (with Guy Brown and Harriet Crook)

Participate in research
Please visit the Music Mind Machine pages to check for possibilities to participate in ongoing research:
Music Mind Machine

Selected grants

2012 British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme (£27.230) with Zohar Eitan – Cross-modal perception of music.
2012 Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for Music Performance as Creative Practice (£1.800). Research visit Oxford University and King’s College London. Expressive performance in contemporary music.
2011 University of Sheffield, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Research & Innovation Grant (£1,500) with Harriet Crook - Influences of emotions on perception and attention to auditory patterns.
2010 University of Sheffield, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Research & Innovation Grant, (£1,500) with Lawrence Parsons - Interpersonal coordination of rhythmic action in music: Psychological and neural aspects.
2009 British Academy Small Research Grant (£7,500) - The influence of emotional responses on attention and expectation in music perception.
2003 TALENT stipend from NWO (£8,600). - Research visit to School of Music, Northwestern University, USA – The emotion of ornamentation in Baroque music.

PhD students

  • Yuko Arthurs. Perception and evaluation of consonant and dissonant chords in varying musical contexts.
  • Ioanna Filippidi. Involuntary musical imagery as conditioned by everyday musical listening.
  • Henrique Meissner. Teaching expressive performance to children. AHRC funded.
  • Tim Metcalfe. Communicating with the environment through artificial ears: Perception of emotion in music and speech by cochlear implant users. Funded by White Rose College of Arts and Humanities.

Past PhD student

  • Marilyn Blank (graduated in 2013). Communication and coordination in piano duo’s
  • Andrea Schiavio (graduated in 2014). Music in (en)action: Sense-making and neurophenomenology of musical experience.

Selected publications

Fabian, D., Timmers, R., & Schubert, E. (2014). Expressiveness in music performance: Empirical approaches across styles and cultures. Oxford University Press.
Timmers, R., Endo, S., Bradbury, A., & Wing, A. M. (2014). Synchronization and leadership in string quartet performance: a case study of auditory and visual cues. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, Article 645.
Timmers, R. & Crook, H.L. (2014). Affective priming in music listening: Emotions as a source of musical expectation. Music Perception, 31, 470-484.
Timmers, R., Sadakata, M., & Desain, P. (2012). The role of visual feedback and creative exploration for the improvement of timing accuracy in performing musical ornaments. Music Perception 30, 71-88.
Eitan, Z., & Timmers, R. (2010). Beethoven's last piano sonata and those who follow crocodiles: Cross-domain mappings of auditory pitch in a musical context. Cognition 114, 405-422.
Juslin, P.N., & Timmers, R. (2010). Expression and communication of emotion in music performance. In Juslin, P.N. & Sloboda, J.A. (Eds) Handbook of Music and Emotion: Theory, Research, and Applications. Oxford University Press (pp. 453-489).
Timmers, R. (2007). Vocal expression in recorded performances of Schubert songs. Musicae Scientiae XI (2), 237-268.
Timmers, R. & Ashley, R. (2007). Emotional ornamentation in performances of a Handel sonata. Music Perception 25 (2), 117-134.