Research Profile

Alexander Khalil

Biography

I am a lecturer in music, chair of graduate studies, and coordinator of the MA in Ethnomusicology at the Department of Music, University College Cork. An ethnomusicologist and cognitive scientist, I investigate the temporal dynamics involved when people make music together.  I also specialise in Byzantine chant (the traditional music of the Greek Orthodox church), music of the Middle East, and music of Southeast Asia.

Before starting my PhD, I served as executive director at the Center for World Music, in San Diego California. Working with ethnomusicologist Robert E. Brown, and funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, I developed the World Music in the Schools programme, which continues to thrive today. My doctoral work, undertaken at the University of California, San Diego, informed by my lifelong experience as a chanter in the Greek Orthodox tradition, investigated the experience of temporality amongst chanters at ancient centres of our tradition, a direction I have more recently extended to communities in diaspora. 

Deeply interested in investigating interpersonal timing and time perception in music, I joined the department of Cognitive Science at UCSD as a postdoctoral scholar and fellow at the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center. Training in cognitive science, I developed methods to investigate interpersonal timing both at the behavioural and neural level in the context of musical performance and interaction. Underlying my approach has been the idea that the group level must be the fundamental unit of analysis in all such work. To address this, I adopt a multidisciplinary approach and centre collective human experience of music as “ground truth” in this work. In 2014 I joined the UCSD Institute for Neural Computation as a scientist where, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, I worked to develop synchronised group electroencephalography (EEG) measures for use in ecological environments from concerts to classrooms. Working with computational neurobiologist Victor Minces, I also developed a programme for connecting STEM with music, leveraging existing interest and intuitive understanding of music to support high school students in underserved communities.  

At UCC, I teach classes in ethnomusicology, focusing on middle eastern music, music cognition and perception, and Balinese gamelan. I am currently primary supervisor for 6 PhD students and secondary for 4 more. I have also supervised 7 taught masters in ethnomusicology. Currently, I lead a UCC Creative initiative that I developed called “the Lullaby Exchange”, which seeks to collect and make available the vast and hidden landscape of the world’s lullabies.

Research Interests

  • Ethnomusicology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Voice Studies
  • Byzantine Chant
  • Balinese Music
  • Middle Eastern Music
  • Music Education & Learning


Research Grants

 ProjectFunding
Body
Start DateEnd DateAward
UCC Creative Lullaby ExchangeUCC Creative01-SEP-2131-AUG-22€4,752.00
Mapping the Timescape.Enterprise Irl26-JUL-1907-DEC-20€15,691.00
Enterprise Irl19-FEB-2118-APR-22€3,723.00
Connecting STEM to Music and the Physics of Sound WavesNational Science Foundation (USA)01-JUL-1730-JUN-19€1,200,000.00
Group Brain Dynamics in Learning NetworkNational Science Foundation (USA)01-AUG-1515-JAN-19€749,000.00
Mia-Rose Blasker Science and Technology Innovative Research GrantOther: Not Listed01-AUG-1201-AUG-13€75,000.00
Postdoctoral Research FellowshipOther: Not Listed01-AUG-0901-AUG-11€100,000.00
Doctoral DissertationOther: Not Listed15-AUG-0415-AUG-07€24,000.00

Publications

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2022)'By the Rivers of Babylon: the role of the cantor in Greek Orthodox diasporic communities in the United States'
Khalil, Alexander K. (2022) 'By the Rivers of Babylon: the role of the cantor in Greek Orthodox diasporic communities in the United States' In: The Oxford Handbook of Community Singing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]
(2019)'“The Echoing Palimpsest: Singing and the Experience of Time at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople'
Khalil, Alexander K (2019) '“The Echoing Palimpsest: Singing and the Experience of Time at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople' In: Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]
(2019)'“Music, Cognition, and Education.”'
Khalil, Alexander K., Victor Minces, John Iversen, Gabriella Musacchia, Christina Zhao, and Andrea Chiba (2019) '“Music, Cognition, and Education.”' In: The Science of Learning Book. Paris: OECD Publishing. [Details]
(2016)'“The Gamelan Project: teaching, playing with, and learning from American schoolchildren playing Balinese gamelan.”'
Khalil, Alexander K. (2016) '“The Gamelan Project: teaching, playing with, and learning from American schoolchildren playing Balinese gamelan.”' In: Performing Indonesia. Washington, DC: Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution.   [Details]
(2015)'Mindmusic: Playful and Social Installations at the Interface between Music and the Brain'
Mullen, Tim, Alexander Khalil, Tomas Ward, John Iversen, Grace Leslie, Richard Warp, Matt Whitman, et al. (2015) 'Mindmusic: Playful and Social Installations at the Interface between Music and the Brain' In: More Playful User Interfaces. Singapore: Springer. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2022)'It Takes Two: Interpersonal Neural Synchrony Is Increased after Musical Interaction'
Khalil A;Musacchia G;Iversen JR; (2022) 'It Takes Two: Interpersonal Neural Synchrony Is Increased after Musical Interaction'. Brain Sciences, 12 (3) [DOI] [Details]
(2020)'One Tap at a Time: Correlating Sensorimotor Synchronization with Brain Signatures of Temporal Processing'
D'Andrea-Penna GM;Iversen JR;Chiba AA;Khalil AK;Minces VH; (2020) 'One Tap at a Time: Correlating Sensorimotor Synchronization with Brain Signatures of Temporal Processing'. Cerebral Cortex Communications, 1 (1) [DOI] [Details]
(2013)'Group rhythmic synchrony and attention in children'
Khalil AK;Minces V;McLoughlin G;Chiba A; (2013) 'Group rhythmic synchrony and attention in children'. Frontiers in psychology, 4 [DOI] [Details]
(2010)'Gaining Insight into Cultural Geography through the Study of Musical Instruments'
Khalil, Alexander K (2010) 'Gaining Insight into Cultural Geography through the Study of Musical Instruments'. Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 6 ((1))   [DOI] [Details]

Other Journals

 YearPublication
(2021)'Listening to Waves: Engaging Underrepresented Students Through the Science of Sound and Music Breadcrumb'
Minces, Victor and Booker, Angela and Khalil, Alexander (2021) 'Listening to Waves: Engaging Underrepresented Students Through the Science of Sound and Music Breadcrumb' National Teaching Science Association, . [Details]
(2020)'Music and Learning: Does Music Make You Smarter?'
Musacchia, Gabriella and Khalil, Alexander (2020) 'Music and Learning: Does Music Make You Smarter?' Frontiers for Young Minds, . [Details]

Conference Publications

 YearPublication
(2016)8th International Conferenceon Education and New Learning Technologies
Minces, V., Khalil, A., Oved, I., Challen, C., Chiba, A. (2016) Listening to Waves: Using Computer Tools to Learn Science through Making Music 8th International Conferenceon Education and New Learning Technologies [Details]

Installation

 YearPublication
(2019)Electric Fields.
Rosenberger, Katharina; Khalil, Alexander K; Brunett, John (2019) Electric Fields. Installation   [Details]

Reviews

 YearPublication
(2003)From China's Southwest Borders: Minority Dances, Songs and Instrumental Music of Yunnan. in 'Asian Music' Vol.34, Iss. 2 (Spring).
Khalil, Alexander K (2003) From China's Southwest Borders: Minority Dances, Songs and Instrumental Music of Yunnan. in 'Asian Music' Vol.34, Iss. 2 (Spring). Ithica: Reviews [Details]

Magazine article

 YearPublication
(2009)一场关于古琴的旅行 (An Essay Concerning Travel for the Study of Guqin), National Geographic, China.
Khalil, Alexander (2009) 一场关于古琴的旅行 (An Essay Concerning Travel for the Study of Guqin), National Geographic, China. Beijing: Magazine article [Details]

PhD Thesis

 YearPublication
(2009)Echoes of Constantinople: oral and written tradition of the psaltes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Khalil, Alexander K (2009) Echoes of Constantinople: oral and written tradition of the psaltes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. San Diego, CA USA: PhD Thesis   [Details]

Professional Activities

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
Society for Ethnomusicology member01-JAN-03 /
Society for Neuroscience regular member01-JAN-15 /
International Society for Orthodox Church Music (ISOSM) member01-JAN-19 /
European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music member01-JAN-20 /
Society for Music Perception and Cognition member01-JAN-17 /
Neuroscience Ireland Regular Member01-JUN-22 /
Society for Musicology in Ireland member01-JUN-22 /
International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA) member01-JAN-19 /

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2022)Society for Musicology in Ireland Plenary conference,
khalil, Alexander K (2022) Society for Musicology in Ireland Plenary conference. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Society for Musicology in Ireland Plenary conference, University College Cork (online) , 24-JUN-22 - 26-JUN-22. [Details]
(2021)The Ninth International Conference on Orthodox Church Music: “Church Music and Topography: City, Village, and Monastery” The International Society for Orthodox Church Music – ISOCM,
Khalil, Alexander K (2021) The Chanting of Rev. Hanna Sakkab: a musical topography of time. [Keynote Speaker], The Ninth International Conference on Orthodox Church Music: “Church Music and Topography: City, Village, and Monastery” The International Society for Orthodox Church Music – ISOCM, Joensuu, Finland , 10-JUN-21. [Details]
(2021)Maynooth University’s Research Lecture Series,
khalil, Alexander K (2021) From Symbols to Letters: The Work Concept Comes to/for Byzantine Chant. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Maynooth University’s Research Lecture Series, Maynooth University (online) , 03-MAR-21. [Details]
(2020)International Council for Traditional Music, Ireland 15th Annual Conference,
Khalil, Alexander K (2020) International Council for Traditional Music, Ireland 15th Annual Conference. [Conference Organising Committee Member], International Council for Traditional Music, Ireland 15th Annual Conference, Cork, Ireland , 21-FEB-20 - 22-FEB-20. [Details]
(2019)Society for Music Perception and Cognition Annual Conference 2019,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2019) Society for Music Perception and Cognition Annual Conference 2019. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Society for Music Perception and Cognition Annual Conference 2019, New York, NY USA . [Details]
(2019)Lecture Series: Queen’s University, Belfast and the Sonic Arts Research Centre,
Khalil, Alexander K (2019) Timescapes: quantitative and qualitative approaches to timing in music. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], Lecture Series: Queen’s University, Belfast and the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast, NI , 27-NOV-19. [Details]
(2019)International Orthodox Theological Association Inaugural Conference,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2019) “John Mestakides, Protopsaltis of Jerusalem (and Anaheim)”. [Oral Presentation], International Orthodox Theological Association Inaugural Conference, Iasi, Romania . [Details]
(2018)Neuroscience 2018--Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting,
Khalil, Alexander K, Ying Wu, John Iversen (2018) Studying auditory processing in group contexts with low-density wireless eeg. [Poster Presentation], Neuroscience 2018--Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, USA , 07-NOV-18. [Details]
(2018)176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America,
Khalil, Alexander K (2018) Finding the beat: An ethnographic approach to beat perception. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Victoria, BC, Canada , 05-NOV-18 - 09-NOV-18. [Details]
(2018)Society for Ethnomusicology 63rd Annual Meeting,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2018) “Making Voices Count: Why Voice Studies in Ethnomusicology. [Oral Presentation], Society for Ethnomusicology 63rd Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico . [Details]
(2017)Society for Music Perception and Cognition Annual Conference 2017,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2017) Society for Music Perception and Cognition Annual Conference 2017. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Society for Music Perception and Cognition Annual Conference 2017, San Diego, CA USA . [Details]
(2017)South by Southwest.edu (SXSWedu),
Khalil, Alexander K., Gabriella Musacchia, Christina Zhao, and Chiho Feindler (2017) “It’s About Time: Music, Rhythm, and Learning”. [Oral Presentation], South by Southwest.edu (SXSWedu), Austin, Texas . [Details]
(2016)South by Southwest.edu (SXSWedu),
Khalil, Alexander K., Gabriella Musacchia, Alesha Bishop, and Chiho Feindler (2016) “How Music Powers STEAM Education (and the Brain)”. [Oral Presentation], South by Southwest.edu (SXSWedu), Austin, Texas . [Details]
(2016)National Science Foundation, Science of Learning Center Symposium,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2016) Learning with Music and Music for Learning. [Invited Oral Presentation], National Science Foundation, Science of Learning Center Symposium, National Science Foundation headquarters, Washington DC USA , 08-FEB-16. [Details]
(2015)Dart Neuroscience Lecture Series,
Khalil, Alexander K; Minces, Victor H (2015) The Gamelan Project. [Invited Oral Presentation], Dart Neuroscience Lecture Series, Dart Neuroscience Campus, San Diego, CA USA , 08-OCT-15. [Details]
(2015)Mozart and the Mind lecture series,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2015) Re-thinking Prodigy: an Intercultural Perspective. [Invited Oral Presentation], Mozart and the Mind lecture series, La Jolla, CA USA , 27-SEP-15. [Details]
(2015)Congressional Briefing on the Science of Learning,
Kuhl, Patricia; Chiba, Andrea; Khalil, Alexander K (2015) Congressional Briefing on the Science of Learning. [Oral Presentation], Congressional Briefing on the Science of Learning, Washington, DC USA , 24-JUN-15. [Details]
(2015)Safeguarding the Musical Traditions of Eastern Christianity,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2015) “Preaching to the Choir: Preservation and Change in Eastern Chant Traditions in Diasporic Communities in America”. [Oral Presentation], Safeguarding the Musical Traditions of Eastern Christianity, Rome, Italy . [Details]
(2015)Society for Ethnomusicology 60th Annual Meeting,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2015) “Echoes of the Distant Past: Reverend Hanna Sakkab and Byzantine Chant in Diaspora”. [Oral Presentation], Society for Ethnomusicology 60th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas . [Details]
(2014)Convergence: a multidisciplinary dialogue on music,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2014) Convergence: a multidisciplinary dialogue on music. [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], Convergence: a multidisciplinary dialogue on music, San Diego, CA USA , 18-MAY-14. [Details]
(2013)Mozart and the Mind lecture series,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2013) In Sync: Music, Synchrony, and Attention. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Mozart and the Mind lecture series, Neuroscience Institute, La Jolla, CA USA , 05-NOV-13. [Details]
(2012)National Endowment for the Arts Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development Inaugural Webinar,
khalil, Alexander K (2012) The Gamelan Project: music, rhythm, and cognitive development. [Invited Lectures (Workshops)], National Endowment for the Arts Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development Inaugural Webinar, Washington, DC, USA , 29-FEB-12. [Details]
(2012)American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting,
Khalil, Alexander, K. (2012) “Translating Scientific and Technological Advances from the Laboratory to the Classroom: It’s About Time”. [Oral Presentation], American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver BC, Canada . [Details]
(2011)Biennial International Mind Brain Education Society Conference,
Khalil, Alexander K. (2011) “Time is of the Essence: translational research at the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center”. [Oral Presentation], Biennial International Mind Brain Education Society Conference, San Diego, California . [Details]
(2009)American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting: Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge,
Khalil, Alexander K (2009) Discovering Cultural Geography: Exploring the World Through Music. [Oral Presentation], American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting: Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge, San Diego, CA USA , 16-APR-09. [Details]
(2009)Society for American Music 35th Annual Conference,
Khalil, Alexander K (2009) Music of the Desert Fathers (of Arizona): Negotiating Religious, Ethnic, and National Identities. [Oral Presentation], Society for American Music 35th Annual Conference, Denver, CO USA , 18-MAR-09. [Details]
(2008)Society for Ethnomusicology 53rd Annual Meeting,
Khalil, Alexander K (2008) Echoes: continuity and change amongst the psaltes of the Patriarchal church of Constantinople. [Oral Presentation], Society for Ethnomusicology 53rd Annual Meeting, Middletown, Connecticut USA , 23-OCT-08. [Details]
(2003)Society for Ethnomusicology 48th Annual Meeting,
Khalil, Alexander K (2003) Escape from Eden: 刘起超 (Liu Qi Chao) and the power of names. [Invited Oral Presentation], Society for Ethnomusicology 48th Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida, USA , 25-OCT-03. [Details]

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
CACSSS Structured PhD Programme Board of Studies member2021 /
School of Film, Music, and Theatre Research Committee member2021 /
Department of Music Graduate Studies Committee Chair2021 /
School of Film Music and Theatre Graduate Studies Committee Member2021 /
CACSSS Graduate Studies Committee Member2021 /
School of Film, Music, and Theatre SEMC member2020 /
Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center Research Fellows Committee Chair2014 / 2018

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
Department of Music, University College Cork Lecturer17-DEC-18 /
Institute for Neural Computation, University of California, San Diego Project Scientist01-JAN-14 / 01-JUL-21
Department of Music, University of San Diego visiting professor01-AUG-16 / 01-JAN-19
Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego Postdoctoral Scholar01-JAN-10 / 01-JAN-14
Department of Music, Mira Costa College Associate Faculty01-AUG-14 / 07-JUN-19
Department of Music, San Diego State University visiting professor01-AUG-11 / 01-JUN-12
Department of Music, University of California, Riverside visiting professor01-AUG-09 / 03-JAN-10
Department of Music, University of California, San Diego Lecturer01-JAN-06 / 31-DEC-08
Center for World Music Executive Director01-JAN-99 / 01-JAN-03

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
2009University of California, San Diego Doctor of Philosophy in MusicMusic
1996California Institute of the Arts Master of Fine ArtsMusic Composition and Performance
1994San Diego State University Bachelor of MusicMusic Composition

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2016First Place Award IEEE Brain Initiative Brain-computer interface (BCI) hackathon
2013Alumnus of the Year San Diego State University Music Department
2010Postdoctoral Fellowship Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center
2009Asian Heritage Award Asia Media, INC, San Diego
2003Best Practices in Education Award San Diego Business Roundtable for Education

Consultancy

 ClientDescription
University of Limerick
External Examiner for Sydney Freedman (PhD Musicology)

Journal Activities

 JournalRoleTo / From
Cognitive Science Peer Reviewer01-JAN-12 - 01-NOV-15
Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America Peer Reviewer01-JAN-15 - 01-DEC-15
Ieee Transactions On Haptics Peer Reviewer01-MAY-15 - 01-DEC-15

Other Activities

 Description

2021 Referee: Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music 

2020-present Coordinator: MA in Ethnomusicology Programme 

2021-present Coordinator: Third Year Undergraduate Studies (Department of Music)

2019 Expert Reviewer: Israel Science Foundation

2014-2018: Mentor, Research Experience for Undergraduates programme. Mentored 7 undergraduate students, supervising laboratory work and data analysis, affording the opportunity to participate in professional scientific settings. 

Outreach Activities

 Description

2022 The UCC Creative Lullaby Exchange--Development and launch of a website through UCC Creative through which people worldwide may share and listen to each other's lullabies. www.lullabyexchange.org

2020 Interviewed for "Tell me in Ten" podcast talk on Sound, Brain, and Seizures, describing collaborative project with INFANT Centre to detect neonatal seizures through the process of sonification. https://www.corkdiscovers.org/other-resources

2019 Public lecture at Sound Sound Day with Dr. Annalisa Setti, ‘This is Your Brain on Sound: exploring sound going into, and coming out of, the brain’ 30 March, Nano Nagle Place, Cork

2019 Demonstrator: Cork Discovers 2019: interactive demonstration of brainwave sonification and interactive spectrogram.

2017-2019 Teacher, co-founder with Victor Minces: Listening to Waves Listening to Waves, a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation, seeks to inspire students to develop a deeper appreciation of both science and sound. We aim to transmit to the students the sense of wonder that we feel towards the sonic world, helping them become aware of the sounds in the environment and draw a connection between the perceptual and physical aspects of sound and music. Our group, based at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has been investigating the relationship between music practice, brain dynamics, and general aspects of cognition. Since much of our work involves education, we have conducted much of our research at various schools. During the course of our work, we became deeply involved in teaching students the science of sound and music, including their physical, perceptual, and neural aspects. Given the great interest that these activities generated in students and teachers we decided to expand this work into a stand-alone outreach program. We have served more than 3000 students across San Diego County, including students in the High Tech High School System, the Boys and Girls Club of San Diego, the Museum School, and the Sweetwater School District, and our web applications have been used more than 100,000 times throughout the world. www.listeningtowaves.com

2015-2018 Mentor: Mentor Assist Program (MAP) mentored 14 high school students over 3 years: by assisting in my laboratory they learned research skills and protocols and were afforded the opportunity to design their own individual research projects. https://innovation.ucsd.edu/events/applications-open-ucsd-mentor-assistance-program-map-2020-2021

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

My teaching focuses on the study of music in culture and music cognition. I take a practice-based approach to both areas, affording the opportunity of learning through performance study and experimentation. My current teaching focuses largely on Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian musics. I am interested in exploring the ways in which culture influences perception of musical phenomena. I also focus on addressing the geopolitical, religious, linguistic, and historical events and trends that shape music cultures. 

Current teaching includes:
Recent teaching has included: 

Contact details

Search profiles by name

Search profiles by topic

School of Film, Music and Theatre

An Scoil Scannánaíochta, Ceoil agus Amharclannaíochta

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh, College Road, Cork, T12 K8AF,

Top