Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Dr Freya Bailes

Academic Fellow in Music Psychology (Music, Media and Mediation)

0113 343 9708

School of Music, Room 2.18

Office hours: Friday, 11.30am-12.30pm

BA (Hons), MA, PhD, PCAP, FHEA


As an Academic Fellow I’m able to pursue my interests in the under-explored links between mental imagery and creativity in music, combining my research experience in experimental psychology with my education and insight as a musician. I am an oboist with a particular enjoyment of orchestral and chamber music performance.

Prior appointments include Lecturer in Music at the University of Hull (2012-15), and Senior Research Fellow at the MARCS Institute at the University of Western Sydney, where I collaborated with Professor Roger Dean on research into the perception and emotional expression of contemporary music, and the role of leadership in musical improvisation. This research drew on my previous post-doctoral experience at the L.E.A.D. (Université de Bourgogne), the C.S.M.L. (Ohio State University), and the Sonic Communications Research Group (University of Canberra).

My doctoral thesis ‘Musical Imagery: Hearing and Imagining Music’ explored the nature and prevalence of musical imagery (University of Sheffield). Years later, and I’m still fascinated by the phenomenon of imagining music in the ‘mind’s ear’, having guest edited a special issue on the topic for the journal ‘Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain’ (2015).



Research Interests

  • Musical imagery (i.e. imagining music in the ‘mind’s ear’)
  • Music and memory
  • Mental representations in musical creativity
  • Cognition and perception of musical structures
  • Cognitive and social processes in performance
  • Music and wellbeing
  • General interests in the psychology of music


Current Modules:

MUSS1520 Introduction to the Sciences of Music
MUSS2920 Psychology of Listening and Performance
MUSS3940 Music Psychology
MUSS5633 Electronic and Computer Music Contexts
MUSS5931 Case Studies in the Applied Psychology of Music


Journal articles

  • D'Amario S, Daffern H, Bailes F (2018). Synchronization in Singing Duo Performances: The Roles of Visual Contact and Leadership Instruction. Frontiers in Psychology. 9.
    DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01208, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/134187/

  • D Amario S, Daffern H, Bailes F (2018). A new method of onset and offset detection in ensemble singing. Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology. .
    DOI: 10.1080/14015439.2018.1452977, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/129663/

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2016). Relationships Between Generated Musical Structure, Performers’ Physiological Arousal and Listener Perceptions in Solo Piano Improvisation. Journal of New Music Research. 45(4), 361-374.
    DOI: 10.1080/09298215.2016.1207668, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/101330/

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2016). Modeling perceptions of valence in diverse music: Roles of acoustic features, agency, and individual variation. Music Perception. 34(1), 104-117.
    DOI: 10.1525/mp.2016.34.1.104

    DOI: 10.1525/MP.2016.34.1.104, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/93879/

  • Launay J, Dean RT, Bailes F (2016). Rapid learning of associations between sound and action through observed movement: A TMS study. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain. 26(1), 35-42.
    DOI: 10.1037/pmu0000131, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/92752/

  • Bailes F, Dean RT, Broughton MC (2015). How different are our perceptions of equal-tempered and microtonal intervals? A behavioural and EEG survey. PLoS ONE. 10(8).
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135082

  • Bailes F (2015). Music in Mind? An Experience Sampling Study of What and When, Towards an Understanding of Why. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain. 25(1), 58-68.

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2015). Using time series analysis to evaluate skin conductance during movement in piano improvisation. Psychology of Music. 43(1), 3-23.
    DOI: 10.1177/0305735613489917

  • Bailes F (2015). Letter from the guest editor. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain. 25(1), 3-4.
    DOI: 10.1037/pmu0000090

  • Bishop L, Bailes F, Roger T (2014). Performing musical dynamics: How crucial are musical imagery and auditory feedback for expert and novice musicians?. Music Perception. 32(1), 51-66.
    DOI: 10.1525/MP.2014.32.1.51

  • Deana RT, Bailes F, Dunsmuir WTM (2014). Shared and distinct mechanisms of individual and expertise-group perception of expressed arousal in four works. Journal of Mathematics and Music. 8(3), 207-223.
    DOI: 10.1080/17459737.2014.928753

  • Deana RT, Bailes F, Dunsmuir WTM (2014). Time series analysis of real-time music perception: Approaches to the assessment of individual and expertise differences in perception of expressed affect. Journal of Mathematics and Music. 8(3), 183-205.
    DOI: 10.1080/17459737.2014.928752

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2014). Influences of structure and agency on the perception of musical change. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain. 24(1), 103-108.
    DOI: 10.1037/pmu0000034

  • Launay J, Dean RT, Bailes F (2014). Evidence for multiple strategies in off-beat tapping with anisochronous stimuli. Psychological Research. 78(5), 721-735.
    DOI: 10.1007/s00426-013-0513-9

  • Launay J, Dean RT, Bailes F (2014). Synchronising movements with the sounds of a virtual partner enhances partner likeability. Cognitive Processing. 15(4), 491-501.
    DOI: 10.1007/s10339-014-0618-0

  • Dean RT, Bailes F, Drummond J (2014). Generative Structures in Improvisation: Computational Segmentation of Keyboard Performances. Journal of New Music Research. 43(2), 224-236.
    DOI: 10.1080/09298215.2013.859710

  • Betteridge GL, Stevens CJ, Bailes FA (2014). Beat it! Music overloads novice dancers. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 28(5), 765-771.
    DOI: 10.1002/acp.3044

  • Olsen KN, Stevens CJ, Dean RT, Bailes F (2014). Continuous loudness response to acoustic intensity dynamics in melodies: Effects of melodic contour, tempo, and tonality. Acta Psychologica. 149, 117-128.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.03.007

  • Bishop L, Bailes F, Dean RT (2013). Musical imagery and the planning of dynamics and articulation during performance. Music Perception. 31(2), 97-117.
    DOI: 10.1525/MP.2013.31.2.97

  • Bailes F, Dean RT, Pearce MT (2013). Music cognition as mental time travel. Scientific Reports. 3.
    DOI: 10.1038/srep02690, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/90309/

  • Bailes F (2013). Everyday music listening: absorption, dissociation and trancing. BRITISH JOURNAL OF MUSIC EDUCATION. 30(2), 300-302.
    DOI: 10.1017/S0265051712000484

  • Bishop L, Bailes F, Dean RT (2013). Musical Expertise and the Ability to Imagine Loudness. PLoS ONE. 8(2).
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056052, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/90311/

  • Launay J, Dean RT, Bailes F (2013). Synchronization can influence trust following virtual interaction. Experimental Psychology. 60(1), 53-63.
    DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000173

  • Bailes F, Bishop L, Stevens CJ, Dean RT (2012). Mental imagery for musical changes in loudness. Frontiers in Psychology. 3(DEC).
    DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00525

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2012). Comparative time series analysis of perceptual responses to electroacoustic music. Music Perception. 29(4), 359-375.
    DOI: 10.1525/mp.2012.29.4.359

  • Bailes F, Barwick L (2011). Absolute tempo in multiple performances of aboriginal songs: Analyzing recordings of Djanba 12 and Djanba 14. Music Perception. 28(5), 473-490.
    DOI: 10.1525/mp.2011.28.5.473

  • Dean RT, Bailes F, Schubert E (2011). Acoustic intensity causes perceived changes in arousal levels in music: An experimental investigation. PLoS ONE. 6(4).
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018591, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/90310/

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2011). The perceived affective expression of computer-manipulated sung sounds. Computer Music Journal. 35(1), 90-104.
    DOI: 10.1162/COMJ_a_00042

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2011). Modelling Perception of Structure and Affect in Music: Spectral Centroid and Wishart’s Red Bird. Empirical Musicology Review. 6(2), 131-137.

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2010). A rise-fall temporal asymmetry of intensity in composed and improvised electroacoustic music. Organised Sound. 15(2), 147-158.
    DOI: 10.1017/S1355771810000142

  • Bailes F (2010). Dynamic melody recognition: Distinctiveness and the role of musical expertise. Memory and Cognition. 38(5), 641-650.
    DOI: 10.3758/MC.38.5.641

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2010). Time series analysis as a method to examine acoustical influences on real-time perception of music. Empirical Musicology Review. 5(4), 152-175.

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2009). Listeners discern affective variation in computer-generated musical sounds. Perception. 38(9), 1386-1404.
    DOI: 10.1068/p6063

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2009). When is noise speech? A survey in sonic ambiguity. Computer Music Journal. 33(1), 57-67.
    DOI: 10.1162/comj.2009.33.1.57

  • Dean RT, Byron T, Bailes FA (2009). The pulse of symmetry: On the possible co-evolution of rhythm in music and dance. Musicae Scientiae. 13(2 SUPPL.), 341-367.
    DOI: 10.1177/1029864909013002151

  • Bailes F (2009). Psychology for Musicians: Understanding and Acquiring the Skills. BRITISH JOURNAL OF MUSIC EDUCATION. 26(2), 227-230.
    DOI: 10.1017/S0265051709008468

  • BAILES F (2009). Psychology for Musicians: Understanding and Acquiring the Skills by Andreas C. Lehmann, John A. Sloboda & Robert H. Woody. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 268 pp., £17.99 hardback. ISBN 0195146107. British Journal of Music Education. 26(02), 227-227.
    DOI: 10.1017/S0265051709008468

  • Bailes F, Delbé C (2009). Long-term melodic expectation: The unexpected observation of distant priming effects. Musicae Scientiae. 13(2), 315-336.
    DOI: 10.1177/102986490901300205

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2008). Is there a 'rise-fall temporal archetype' of intensity in electroacousti music?. Canadian Acoustics - Acoustique Canadienne. 36(3), 112-113.

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2007). Listener detection of segmentation in computer-generated sound: An exploratory experimental study. Journal of New Music Research. 36(2), 83-93.
    DOI: 10.1080/09298210701755123

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2007). Human understanding’ in imagining and organising sound: some implications of John Locke's Essay for ecological, cognitive and embodied approaches to composition. Organised Sound. 12(01), 89-89.
    DOI: 10.1017/S1355771807001616

  • Bailes F (2007). The prevalence and nature of imagined music in the everyday lives of music students. Psychology of Music. 35(4), 555-570.
    DOI: 10.1177/0305735607077834

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2007). A Response to Cross and Rohrmeier’s ‘Comments on Facilitation and coherence between the dynamic and retrospective perception of segmentation in computer-generated music. Empirical Musicology Review. 2(4), 149-151.

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2007). Facilitation and coherence between the dynamic and retrospective perception of segmentation in computer-generated music. Empirical Musicology Review. 2(3), 74-80.

  • Bailes F (2007). Timbre as an Elusive Component of Imagery for Music. Empirical Musicology Review. 2(1), 21-34.

  • Bailes F (2007). A response to Andrea Halpern’s commentary. Empirical Musicology Review. 2(2), 62-64.

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2007). Human understanding’ in imagining and organising sound: Some implications of John Locke's Essay for ecological, cognitive and embodied approaches to composition. Organised Sound. 12(1), 89-95.
    DOI: 10.1017/S1355771807001616

  • BAILES F (2006). Musical Communication edited by Dorothy Miell, Raymond MacDonald & David J. Hargreaves. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. 433 pp., £26.95 paperback. ISBN 0198529368. British Journal of Music Education. 23(03), 363-363.
    DOI: 10.1017/S0265051706217133

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2006). Toward a sociobiology of music. Music Perception. 24(1), 83-84.
    DOI: 10.1525/mp.2006.24.1.83

  • Barrass S, Whitelaw M, Bailes F (2006). Listening to the mind listening: An analysis of sonification reviews, designs and correspondences. Leonardo Music Journal. 16, 13-19.
    DOI: 10.1162/lmj.2006.16.13

  • Bailes FA (2006). The use of experience-sampling methods to monitor musical imagery in everyday life. Musicae Scientiae. 10(2), 173-190.
    DOI: 10.1177/102986490601000202

  • Bailes F (2006). The cognition of basic musical structures. MUSIC ANALYSIS. 25(1-2), 241-247.
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2249.2006.00240.x

  • Dean RT, Bailes F (2006). NoiseSpeech. Performance Research. 11(3), 85-86.


  • Bailes FA, Dean RT (2016). Cognitive Processes in Musical Improvisation. In Lewis G & Piekut B (Ed.) Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies(1, 39-55)Oxford University Press.

  • Bailes F, Bishop L (2012). Musical imagery in the creative process. In The Act of Musical Composition: Studies in the Creative Process(53-77).

  • Sagiv N, Dean RT, Bailes F (2012). Algorithmic Synesthesia. In The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music().
    DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199792030.013.0015

  • Bailes F, Dean RT (2012). Empirical Studies of Computer Sound. In The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music().
    DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199792030.013.0023

  • Dean RT, Byron T, Bailes F (2010). Les pulsations de la symétrie: de la coévolution possible du rythme dans la musique et la danse. In Deliège I, Vitouch O & Ladining O (Ed.) Musique et Evolution(281-299) PSY-Théories, débats, synthèses. Wavre, Belgium.

  • Bailes F (2009). Translating the musical image: case studies of expert musicians. (41-59).

  • Dean RT, Bailes F, Brennan D (2008). Microtonality, the octave, and novel tunings for affective music. In Atherton M & Crossman B (Ed.) Music of the Spirit: Asian-Pacific Musical Identity(124-134)Sydney: Australian Music Centre.

  • Bailes F, Smith H, Dean RT (2007). Hearing and Imaging Place in Sound: A Program to interrelate the Cognitive, Cultural and Creative. In Bandt R, Duffy M & MacKinnon D (Ed.) Hearing Places: Sound, Place, Time and Culture(126-142)Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Conference papers

  • Dean RT, Bailes F ‘Event and process in the fabric and perception of electroacoustic music’. In Solomos M (Ed.), Intervention 11Centre de Documentation Musique Contemporaine.. Xenakis: The Electroacoustic Music, Paris, 23/05/2012

  • Bailes FA, Dean RT ‘Detecting musical macrostructure: Some early findings’. In AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY. 57, 43-44. 43-44

Research Projects & Grants

  • The Cultural Institute, University of Leeds – Ignite project, ‘Understanding the value of music therapy in rural Yorkshire communities’ 2016-2017
  • Australian Research Council – Discovery Project (DP120102426, ‘Loudness moves! Roles of changing acoustic intensity in the perception of music’, AU$254,000) 2012-2014 
  • HCSNet – Early Career Researcher Placement Award (AU$2199) 2007
  • Australian Research Council – Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant (LE0668448, ‘See Hear! Multimodal Recording and Analysis Facility’, AU$150,000) 2006
  • Post-doctoral fellowship in Music Cognition from the Ohio State University 2003-2004
  • Post-doctoral scholarship from the Conseil Régional de Bourgogne/EGIDE (‘Image mentale et représentation des structures musicales’) 2002-2003

Research Centres & Groups

  • European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM)
  • Australian Music and Psychology Society (AMPS)

External Appointments

Reviewing and Editorial Appointments

  • Associate Editor of Music Perception
  • Editorial Board of Musicae Scientiae
  • Reviewer for ISMIR, ESCOM, SEMPRE, Frontiers in Cognitive Science, International Journal of Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Musicae Scientiae, Music Perception, Psychology of Music, Psychomusicology, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Expert Grant Assessments

  • Research Council of Norway – Expert panel member (Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • Australian Research Council National Competitive Grants Expert Assessor, Expert Assessor for the Austrian Academy of Sciences L’Oréal fellowship, Peer reviewer for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

External Examining

  • External Examiner, MPhil, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge.

Conference Organisation

  • RMA Study Day ‘Twentieth-century British poets in Music’ (2013), MARCS 10 Year Anniversary Celebration (2009), CSAA conference (2006)

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Current PhD students

Kate Cameron (Music education and childhood wellbeing: Appraising the impact of In Harmony, Opera North)

Sara D’Amario (Achieving Excellence in Ensemble Singing)

Cristina Harney (How can we utilise everyday music to improve wellbeing and quality of life of students?)

Michelle Ulor (Can voluntary musical imagery be used as a coping mechanism for anxiety?)

Past PhD students

Graziana Presicce (The Role of Visual Imagery and Engagement during Music Listening)

Joel Swaine (Conceptual and Theoretical Tools for Empirical Research on Music, Emotion and Health)

Jacques Launay (The attribution of agency to sound influences associated motor activity, synchronisation and affiliation)

Laura Bishop (The Use of Musical Imagery and Auditory Feedback during Expressive Music Performance: Exploring the Effects of Expertise)

PhD Thesis

Musical Imagery: Hearing and Imagining Music

Musical imagery is defined as the conscious ‘inner hearing’ of a mental representation of music. In spite of the apparent importance of imagery for musical activity, there is a dearth of empirical knowledge on the subject, due in part to its essentially private and internal nature. Psychological methods of examining the phenomenon are necessarily restricted to indirect research techniques. This thesis explores the intuition that musical imagery is central to musical thought, through an exploration of its occurrence and its character in a variety of musical activities. Three categories of musical imagery are described. First, musical imagery can occur unintentionally – the phenomenon often called ‘tune on the brain’. Second, musical imagery may be an involuntary consequence of musical activity. Finally, imagery may be intentional, as in the ‘silent’ analysis of musical score. The studies reported progress from unintentional to intentional imagery, combining a variety of methods in increasingly specialised musical contexts to investigate the relationship between imagery and perception. The subject is approached through theoretical discussion, a sampling study, experiments, fieldwork, and interviews with expert musicians.

It is argued that musical imagery and perception are separable but mutually dependent cognitive phenomena. The results highlight a shifting relationship between perception and imagery depending upon the contextual factors of image intentionality and musical task. Evidence is provided for the prevalence of ‘tune on the brain’ episodes in everyday life. The veridicality of imagery for different musical dimensions is also explored, with the experiment finding that timbre is a less stable component of musical imagery than timing and pitch. Musical imagery is described as situated between the subconscious influence of mental representations during the pure perception of music, and the rare occurrence of eidetic imagery.




© Copyright Leeds 2018