Stephen McAdams

Academic title(s): 

Professor, Music Technology, Canada Research Chair

Director: Music Perception & Cognition Laboratory (MPCL) and Real-Time Multimodal Laboratory(RTML)

Music Research
Music Technology
Music Theory
Contact Information
514-398-4535 ext. 094827
Email address: 
stephen [dot] mcadams [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Area of expertise: 

Psychoacoustics, music perception and cognition, sound quality research, multidimensional data analysis, functional data analysis.


Stephen McAdams studied music composition and theory with Julia Hansen at De Anza College in California before entering the realm of perceptual psychology (BSc in Psychology, McGill University, 1977; PhD in Hearing and Speech Sciences, Stanford University, 1984). In 1986, he founded the Music Perception and Cognition team at the world-renowned music research centre Ircam in Paris. While there he organized the first Music and the Cognitive Sciences conference in 1988, which subsequently gave rise to the three international societies dedicated to music perception and cognition, as well as the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. He was Research Scientist and then Senior Research Scientist in the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) from 1989 to 2004. He took up residence at McGill University in 2004, where he is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Music Perception and Cognition. He directs the Music Perception and Cognition Laboratory in the Music Technology Area and is an associate member of the Music Theory Area. He directed the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music, Media and Technology (CIRMMT) in the Schulich School of Music from 2004 to 2009. His research interests include auditory scene analysis, musical timbre perception, sound source perception, and the cognitive and affective dynamics of musical listening. His newest project involves developing the psychological foundations for a theory of orchestration.

Real-Time Multimodal Lab (RTML)