About Finn

Finn is a recent PhD in Music technology, focused on Music Cognition. Their* current dissertation work focuses on the fleeting alignment of listeners’ breathing to musical event. Other recent projects include a perception-based definition of Music, and development of Activity Analysis for the assessment of coordination within collections of related time series.

Always fascinated by the constructions of our experience in the perceptual present, Finn has worked on quantifying the relationship between the music we hear and the experiences that come out of the combinations of who we are and what we are doing, in the moment. At McGill, they worked with continuous responses recorded from music concert audiences in Prof. McAdam’s MPCL lab. At NYU, this research has continued with a focus repeated response experiments: case studies of individual listeners’ experiences as they hear the same pieces several times. Collections of continuous responses pose specific statistical challenges, be they ratings or physiological measures of emotion, and Finn has developed analytical tools to evaluate whether and when responses show significant agreement and coordination. Formally, Finn is studying at New York University in the department of Performing Arts Professions within the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, and is supervised by Prof. Mary Farbood.

Prior to arriving at NYU, Finn completed a M.A. in Music Technology at McGill University, as well as a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics and a BMus in Music Theory. As musician, Finn plays many instruments badly, including the bassoon and the crash cymbals. As a mathee, they are a fan of non-linear dynamics and non-parametric statistics. As an academic, Finn reads too freely in the areas of social cognition, computational neuroscience, developmental psychology, and fan studies. Outside of the academic, Finn podcasts, bikes by default, and unintentionally shortens the life span of plants.

Identity and Disability

Finn Upham has been formally coming out as transgender and non-binary since 2016, and prefers the pronouns they/them/their. Gender non-conformity has been a theme in their life and it has been a great relief to embrace an alternative to the alienating female identity assigned to them at birth. For more information about non-binary identities, feel free to consult the trans wiki and the GLAAD reference is one place to learn about how to be an ally to transgender people.

Dyslexia, the umbrella term for a range of reading and writing disabilities, is a mixed blessing, and its interference with our text-heavy culture has contributed to Finn’s life and work in many ways. Assistive technologies are some help, but a little patience and flexibility is greatly appreciated.

Contact Details

  • For music cognition and academic things: finn at nyu . edu
  • For general inquires: finn.upham at gmail
  • For audio and fandom related things: fffinnagain at gmail