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School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Dr Charalampos Saitis


Lecturer in Digital Music Processing

Room Number: Engineering, Eng 111
Twitter: @noindent


I am based at the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM), where I study communication acoustics with a focus on timbre perception and “metaphors we listen with”, and their application to research and innovation in digital music. This involves using empirical and computational methods to understand different modalities of experience, interaction, and control between the digital music “user” (listeners, performers, producers) and sound as a multimodal semiotic system. My previous research has focused on verbal-data-driven analysis of cognitive representations of timbre and more recently on digital interactive cross-sensory games. Scholarly contributions include co-editing the scientific volumes Timbre: Acoustics, Perception, & Cognition (2019), the first dedicated to a comprehensive and authoritative presentation of the state of the art in research on this foundational aspect of hearing, and Musical Haptics (2018), an original interdisciplinary overview of the role of haptic feedback in musical practice and interaction. I am a founding member of the International Conference on Timbre.

I am associate member of the Music Cognition Lab and the Cognitive Science Research Group, member of he Institute of Applied Data Science (IADS), deputy director of the DAME CDTand coordinate the C4DM Special Interest Group in Neural Audio Synthesis (SIGNAS). Outside QMUL, I am active in the UK Acoustics Network (UKAN)non-partner member of the international Analysis, Creation and Teaching of ORchestration (ACTOR) Partnership, and Turing Fellow and member of the Humanities & Data Science interest group at the Alan Turing Institute I was awarded a PhD in music technology from McGill University in 2014. In 2015-16, I joined Fondazione ISI as postdoc in the data science lab. Prior to joining QMUL, I was Humboldt Research Fellow at the Audio Communication Group of TU Berlin in 2016-19.

I am a member of the EECS Equalities Committee, EECS Race Equality Champion, and a member of the QMUL Racial Equality Action Group.



Interactive Digital Multimedia Techniques (Postgraduate)

This is a Master's level course in developing real-time interactive digital media systems. The course will focus on graphics and sound programming, with a secondary emphasis on basic electronic hardware design for sensors and human-computer interfaces. The course will employ widely-used development environments including Arduino, Processing Max/MSP and Jitter, Processing. Course material will be delivered through a combination of lectures, interactive lab sessions, and individual/group exercises (both in and out of class). Generally speaking, each class period will consist of a combination of lecture and interactive lab session.

Professional and Research Practice (Undergraduate)

This module provides you with the opportunity to examine the role of engineering in society and the expectations of society for a professional engineer. During the module, you should develop and achieve a level of written and spoken communication expected of a professional engineer. You will also construct a personal development plan (PDP) and an on-going employability skills folder. The assessment of the module is 100 per cent coursework, broken down as follows: oral presentation: 25 per cent; in-class essay: 25 per cent; PDP folder: 25 per cent; employability folder: 25 per cent. Not open to Associate Students or students from other departments.

Signals and Information (Undergraduate)

This first year module introduces the fundamentals of signals, Fourier Series, information theory and signal statistics. Topics covered include: signal fundamentals such as discrete versus continuous time signals; signal average, energy and power; orthogonality; Fourier Series. The module also provides an introduction to information theory, including the information measure, entropy and the binary symmetric channel. Basic ideas in statistics will also be introduced. It will be taught by a combination of lectures, tutorials and labs.

Electronic Engineering Mathematics 2 (Undergraduate)

This module covers topics in engineering mathematics relevant to Electronics and Electrical Engineering programs: Vector Calculus (field theory, surface and volume integration, field operators), linear algebra (matrices and matrix operations, applications to systems of equations, reduced Row Echelon Form, determinants, Cramer's rule, eigenvalues and eigenvectors), differential equations (solving first and second order DEs).


Research Interests:

  • Perception, cognition & aesthetics of sound
  • Crossmodal & multisensory perception involving sound
  • Enabling digital audio with an understanding of how we listen
  • Modelling human values (& biases) with digital music data
  • Digital tools for education, outreach, & research

PhD students:

Primary supervisor

  • Luca Marinelli: Gender-coded sound: A multimodal data-driven analysis of gender encoding strategies in sound and music for advertising (09/2020–current)
  • Ben Hayes: Perceptually Motivated Deep Learning Approaches to Creative Sound Synthesis (09/2020–current, co-supervised with George Fazekas)
  • Vjosa Preniqi: Predicting psychological traits from digital media behaviours (01/2021–current, co-supervised with Kyriaki Kalimeri)
  • Bleiz Del Sette: The Sound of Care: researching the use of deep learning and sonification for the daily support of people with chronic pain (09/2021–current)
  • Remi Falowo: E-AIM: Embodied Cognition in Intelligent Musical Emotion Systems (09/2021–current)
  • Maryam Fayaz Torshizi: Music mood modelling using Knowledge Graphs and Graph Neural Nets (09/2021–current, co-supervised with George Fazekas)
  • Jincheng Zhang: Controllable music generation using deep learning (09/2021–current, co-supervised with George Fazekas)

Active second supervisor

  • Cyrus Vahidi: Psychoacoustics in Generative Audio Modelling (09/2019–current)
  • Alejandro Delgado: Drum Sound Query by Vocal Percussion (10/2018–current)


I'm pleased to be working with some great people across different research fields. This includes researchers in my home group the Centre for Digital Music, plus QMUL colleague Martin Benning (Mathematics). Outside QMUL, collaborators include Christine Cuskley (Newcastle, UK), Kyriaki Kalimeri (Fondazione ISI, Turin, Italy), Kai Siedenburg (Oldenburg, Germany), and Zachary Wallmark (Oregon, USA).



    • Preniqi V, Kalimeri K, Saitis C (2022), "More Than Words": Linking Music Preferences and Moral Values Through Lyrics $nameOfConference

    • Hayes B, Saitis C, Fazekas G (2022), Disembodied Timbres: A Study on Semantically Prompted FM Synthesis $nameOfConference

    • Delgado A, Saitis C, Benetos E et al. (2022), Deep Conditional Representation Learning for Drum Sample Retrieval by Vocalisation $nameOfConference

    • Delgado A, Demirel E, Subramanian V et al. (2022), Deep Embeddings for Robust User-Based Amateur Vocal Percussion Classification $nameOfConference

    • Hayes B, Saitis C, Fazekas G (2021), Neural Waveshaping Synthesis Proceedings of the 22nd International Society for Music Information Retrieval

    • Delgado A, McDonald S, Xu N et al. (2021), Learning Models for Query by Vocal Percussion: A Comparative Study $nameOfConference

    • Bonnici RS, Saitis C, Benning M (2021), Timbre Transfer with Variational Auto Encoding and Cycle-Consistent Adversarial Networks $nameOfConference

    • Vahidi C, Fazekas G, Saitis C (2021), A Modulation Front-End for Music Audio Tagging The International Joint Conference on Neural Networks

    • Hayes B, Saitis C, Fazekas G (2021), Neural Waveshaping Synthesis $nameOfConference

    • Preniqi V, Kalimeri K, Saitis C (2021), Modelling Moral Traits with Music Listening Preferences and Demographics $nameOfConference

    • Vahidi C, Saitis C, Fazekas G (2021), A Modulation Front-End for Music Audio Tagging $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Siedenburg K (2020), Brightness perception for musical instrument sounds: Relation to timbre dissimilarity and source-cause categories $nameOfConference

    • Vahidi C, Fazekas G, Saitis C et al. (2020), Timbre Space Representation of a Subtractive Synthesizer $nameOfConference

    • Delgado Luezas A, Saitis C, Sandler M (2020), Spectral and Temporal Timbral Cues of Vocal Imitations of Drum Sounds 2nd International Conference on Timbre

    • ZACHARAKIS A, Hayes B, Saitis C et al. (2020), Evidence for timbre space robustness to an uncontrolled online stimulus presentation Timbre 2020

    • Hayes B, Saitis C (2020), There’s more to timbre than musical instruments: semantic dimensions of FM sounds Timbre 2020

    • Vahidi C, Fazekas G, Saitis C et al. (2020), Timbre Space Representation of a Subtractive Synthesizer International Conference on Timbre (Timbre 2020)

    • Marinelli L, Lykartsis A, Weinzierl S et al. (2020), Musical dynamics classification with CNN and modulation spectra 17th Sound and Music Computing Conference

    • Caetano M, Saitis C, Siedenburg K (2019), Audio Content Descriptors of Timbre $nameOfConference

    • Siedenburg K, Saitis C, McAdams S (2019), The Present, Past, and Future of Timbre Research $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Weinzierl S (2019), The Semantics of Timbre $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Kalimeri K (2018), Multimodal Classification of Stressful Environments in Visually Impaired Mobility Using EEG and Peripheral Biosignals $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Kalimeri K (2018), Multimodal Classification of Stressful Environments in Visually Impaired Mobility Using EEG and Peripheral Biosignals $nameOfConference

    • Papetti S, Saitis C (2018), Musical Haptics: Introduction $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Jarvelainen H, Fritz C (2018), The Role of Haptic Cues in Musical Instrument Quality Perception $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Parvez MZ, Kalimeri K (2018), Cognitive Load Assessment from EEG and Peripheral Biosignals for the Design of Visually Impaired Mobility Aids $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C (2017), Fractal Art: Closer to Heaven? Modern Mathematics, the Art of Nature, and the Nature of Art $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Weinzierl S (2017), Concepts of timbre emerging from musician linguistic expressions $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Fritz C, Scavone GP et al. (2017), Perceptual evaluation of violins: A psycholinguistic analysis of preference verbal descriptions by experienced musicians. $nameOfConference

    • Kalimeri K, Saitis C (2016), Exploring multimodal biosignal features for stress detection during indoor mobility $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Kalimeri K (2016), Identifying urban mobility challenges for the visually impaired with mobile monitoring of multimodal biosignals $nameOfConference

    • Spagnol S, Johannesson OI, Kristjansson A et al. (2016), Model-based obstacle sonification for the navigation of visually impaired persons $nameOfConference

    • Bujacz M, Kropidlowski K, Ivanica G et al. (2016), Sound of vision - Spatial audio output and sonification approaches $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Scavone GP, Fritz C et al. (2015), Effect of task constraints on the perceptual evaluation of violins $nameOfConference

    • Mansour H, Fréour V, Saitis C et al. (2015), Post-classification of nominally identical steel-string guitars using bridge admittances $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Hankinson A, Fujinaga I (2014), Correcting large-scale OMR data with crowdsourcing $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Fritz C, Scavone GP (2014), Categorization and lexicon in verbal descriptions of violin quality by performers $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Scavone GP, Fritz C et al. (2013), Perceptual evaluation of violins: A comparison of intra-individual agreement in playing vs. listening tasks for the case of richness $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Scavone GP, Fritz C et al. (2013), Perceptual evaluation of violins: A comparison of intra-individual agreement in playing vs. listening tasks for the case of richness $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Giordano BL, Fritz C et al. (2012), Perceptual evaluation of violins: A quantitative analysis of preference judgments by experienced players $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Giordano BL, Fritz C et al. (2011), Investigating the origin of inter-individual differences in the preference for violins $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Giordano BL, Fritz C et al. (2011), Aspects of experimental design for the perceptual evaluation of violin qualities $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Scavone GP, Fritz C et al. (2010), Evaluating violin quality: How consistent are skilled players? $nameOfConference

    • Saitis C, Orr S, van Walstijn M (2009), Physical modeling of the piano: An investigation into the effect of string stiffness on the hammer string interaction. $nameOfConference


Current PhD funding opportunities for September 2022 entry include:

Applicants are encouraged to contact me before submitting their application – please send an email with your CV and draft research proposal. Suggested PhD topics include:

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