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Volume 5 Issue 3, March 2021

The perception of timbre

Timbre is an auditory attribute that conveys important information about the identity of a sound source, especially for music. Thoret et al. re-analyse past research to identify the multiple acoustical facets of musical instrument perception, capitalizing on spectrotemporal modulation models and metric learning.

Cover image: Enrica Casentini, no affiliationEtienne Thoret, Aix-Marseille Univ, CNRS, ILCB, FranceBaptiste Caramiaux, Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, Inria, France.Cover design: Bethany Vukomanovic.


  • COVID-19 has forced a rethink of many practices we previously took for granted, and academic travel is no exception. Virtual conferences have demonstrated their promise for encouraging a more equitable and environmentally friendly future.



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Comment & Opinion

  • The pandemic is causing prolonged stress to our social connections, with major adverse consequences to individual and societal health. As a group-living, cooperative species, we need policies of communal care for a more equitable, resilient future, argues Robin Nelson.

    • Robin Nelson
    World View
  • Conferences are a pivotal part of the scientific enterprise, but large in-person meetings have several disadvantages. As the pandemic experience has shown, online meetings are a viable alternative. Accelerating efforts to improve conferences in virtual formats can lead to a more equitable and sustainable conference culture.

    • Sarvenaz Sarabipour
    • Aziz Khan
    • Tomislav Mestrovic
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News & Views

  • Obtaining accurate dates for rock art is important to both archaeologists and Aboriginal Traditional Owners, but a lack of organic material associated with rock art can make this challenging. Using radiocarbon dating of mud wasp nests, Finch et al. show that naturalistic depictions of animals in the Kimberley region of northern Australia date to between 13,000 and 17,000 years ago.

    • Paul S. C. Taçon
    News & Views
  • To date, studies of gambling harms have been limited by reliance on small samples and self-reports of behaviour. Analysis of banking transactions provides unique insights into the scope and sequencing of gambling harms at the individual and population levels, with implications for gambling policy, regulation, and harm minimization.

    • Rachel A. Volberg
    News & Views
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Amendments & Corrections

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