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Dr Sven-Amin Lembke

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Creative Industries
Areas of Expertise:
Audio and Music Technology , Music technology
Research Supervision:
Courses taught:

Sven-Amin is a Senior Lecturer in Audio and Music Technology; and Course Leader for ARU's BSc (Hons) Audio and Music Technology and BA (Hons) Music and Sound Production.

Sven-Amin studies musical experiences as heard by listeners, imagined by composers, and performed by musicians. His research and teaching seek to link the underlying acoustics to relevant psychological dimensions.

[email protected]


Sven-Amin's research covers various musical genres and practices. Whereas his previous work investigated how orchestral timbres blend both in terms of instrument pairings and coordination by performers and sound engineers, his recent projects explore how crossmodal metaphors such as sound shapes, gestures, and textures are employed in electroacoustic music and perceived by listeners. He employs interdisciplinary methods traversing musicology, acoustics, psychology, and audio technology.

Sven-Amin lectures and supervises students in the subjects acoustics, music psychology, and audio technology and production and is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Outside of academia, he has worked in acoustic consulting and engineering, audio production for film and television and performed as violinist in orchestras and percussionist in Balinese gamelan.

Spoken Languages
  • English
  • German
  • Malay
  • French
  • Portuguese
Research interests
  • Crossmodal correspondences, e.g., shape, gesture, texture
  • Crossmodal communication and interfaces
  • Role of timbre perception across different musical genres and practices
  • Combination and blending of instrument timbre in ensemble performance
  • Perception and cognition in music listening and production
Areas of research supervision
  • Music/audio technology
  • Acoustics
  • Music perception & cognition

Sven-Amin currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Core Skills for Audio
  • Acoustics
  • Final Project
  • PhD in Music Technology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • MA in Musicology, Acoustics, Audio Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Guest editor of Organised Sound, Cambridge University Press
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • External examiner for MSc Digital Audio Engineering, University of West London
Selected recent publications

Lembke, S.-A. (2023) ‘Distinguishing between straight and curved sounds: Auditory shape in pitch, loudness, and tempo gestures’, Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 85(8), pp. 2751–2773. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-023-02764-8.

Lembke, S.-A., Parker, K., Narmour, E., and McAdams, S. (2019) ‘Acoustical correlates of perceptual blend in timbre dyads and triads’, Musicae Scientiae, 23(2), pp. 250–274. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864917731806

Lembke, S.-A. (2019) ‘Editorial: Perceptual issues surrounding the electroacoustic listening experience, Organised Sound, 24(1), pp. 1–7. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355771819000013

Lembke, S.-A. (2018) ‘Hearing triangles: Perceptual clarity, opacity, and symmetry of spectrotemporal sound shapes’, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(2), pp. 608–619. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1121/1.5048130

Lembke, S.-A., Levine, S., & McAdams, S. (2017) ‘Blending between bassoon and horn players: an analysis of timbral adjustments during musical performance, Music Perception, 35(2), pp. 144–164. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2017.35.2.144

Lembke, S.-A., & McAdams, S. (2015) ‘The role of spectral-envelope characteristics in perceptual blending of wind-instrument sounds, Acta Acustica United with Acustica, 101(5), pp. 1039–1051. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3813/AAA.918898

Recent presentations and conferences

Lembke, S.-A. (2023). Crossmodal identification of sound gestures by untrained listeners. Poster presented at 21st International Multisensory Research Forum (IMRF), Brussels, Belgium

Lembke, S.-A. (2021). Perceptual factors contributing to the identity of sound gestures. Paper presented at Electroacoustic Music Studies (EMS 21) Network Conference, Leicester, United Kingdom

Lembke, S.-A. (2021). Identification of pitch-gesture sequences as a function of sequence length and gesture complexity. Poster presented at 16th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC-ESCOM), Sheffield (virtual), United Kingdom

Lembke, S.-A. (2020). Sound-gesture identification in real-world sounds of varying timbral complexity. Poster presented at 2nd International Conference on Timbre, Thessaloniki (virtual), Greece

Lembke, S.-A. (2020). Matching uni-directional auditory gestures to visual trajectories of varying curvature. Paper presented at 17th Sound and Music Computing (SMC) Conference, Turin (virtual), Italy

Lembke, S.-A. (2019). Matching pitch gestures to visual trajectories as a function of acoustic scales. Invited paper presented at 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Louisville, USA

Lembke, S.-A. (2018). Towards a perceptual framework for spectromorphologies in electroacoustic music. Paper presented at 15th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC-SMPC), Montreal, Canada

Lembke, S.-A. (2018). Measuring temporal interdependence between duet performers along timbre, dynamics, and pitch. Paper presented at Timbre 2018: Timbre Is a Many-Splendored Thing conference, Montreal, Canada

Lembke, S.-A. (2017). Triangular sound shapes: spectromorphology and its perceptual implications. Paper presented at Electroacoustic Music Studies (EMS) Conference, Nagoya, Japan

Lembke, S.-A. (2017). Situating the perceptual study of timbre in both orchestral and electroacoustic practice. Paper presented at Berlin Interdisciplinary Workshop on Timbre, Berlin, Germany

Lembke, S.-A. (2016). An exploration of psychoacoustic factors influencing the perception of triangular sound shapes. Poster presented at 14th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC- SMPC), San Francisco, USA

Lembke, S.-A., Levine, S., de Francisco, M., and McAdams, S. (2015). The use of microphone level balance in blending the timbre of horn and bassoon players. Paper presented at Audio Engineering Society Convention 139, New York City, USA

Lembke, S.-A. and McAdams, S. (2014). Timbre’s role in music: investigating its dependency on pitch and dynamics during musical performance. Paper presented at 9th Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM), Berlin, Germany