Amy Beeston

Sheffield University site


I am a Visiting Academic in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Music Psychology at the University of Leeds. My research is interdisciplinary and primarily involves the development of digital sound processing methods to derive control data from specific parts of audio signals.

Born into a musical family in Edinburgh, I spent much of my childhood listening to and playing various musical instruments. After a brief foray into Physics (at New College, Oxford), I returned to Scotland and completed my undergraduate studies in Music Technology (at the University of Edinburgh, 2001). I began building interactive sound installations at around this time, and focussed on sonic control for interactive audio installations during my research masters degree in Sonology (Royal Conservatory, The Hague, 2005). My PhD work (in Computer Science at the University of Sheffield, 2015) combined elements of psychoacoustics and computational modelling to indirectly address some of the challenges that I had faced when moving sound installations between practice studios and performance spaces. This work, firstly, examined how human listeners compensate for reflected sound in everyday listening environments and, secondly, developed machine listeners that exploit principles of the human auditory system in order to deal with the reverberation present in real room recordings.

Whilst completing my PhD I was also employed as a researcher in the Speech and Hearing Research Group, and worked on two projects developing software for computer-assisted language learning. The first of these projects produced pronunciation training tools for Dutch school children learning English. The second project promoted strategies for cochlear-implanted listeners to handle overlapping talk in conversation. Following this medical computing trend further, I then developed software for acoustic detection and assessment of snore sounds recorded overnight in the home via users' smartphones.

I particularly enjoy applying my human/machine listening skills in musical applications. I am involved with a project based at the University of Leeds which explores the music listening behaviour of people with hearing impairments, and I also work freelance to make (and to support others in making) audio-driven sound art. I am a co-founding member of SONA and the Yorkshire Sound Women Network.