We are delighted to announce that Kendra Oudyk from Jyväskylä University (Finland) is joining BirdVox for a research internship. She is working on developing new computational tools for understanding how humans imitate bird songs.

Below is her research proposal and biography.


What was that bird? Birdsong query-by-humming using asymmetric set inclusion of pitch-curve segments 

The purpose of this project is to create a query-by-humming system for birdsong. Such a system would take a human imitation of birdsong as input, and output likely species classifications, as well as retrieved bird audio recordings that resemble the query.
This presents a unique methodological situation for two reasons:
  1. many methods for birdsong classification may not be applicable because they rely on spectral features that may not be imitable by humans; and
  2. alternatively, many methods for music query-by-humming may not be ideal because birdsong query by humming involves classifying a species rather than a particular song, and birdsong may vary both between and within individual birds of a species.
Therefore, this project will test a novel methodology for query-by-humming; the proposed method involves asymmetric set inclusion of query pitch-curve segments in the set of birdsong pitch-curve segments for each species in the system. This proof-of-concept research may have applications for creating a birdsong query-by-humming tool for everyday users, and additionally it may further our understanding of how humans imitate birdsong.


Kendra is in the second and final year of the Music, Mind, and Technology Masters Degree Program at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, where she is also completing a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience. For her masters thesis, she used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to investigate how personality modulates brain responses to emotion in music, under the supervision of Dr.’s Iballa Burunat, Elvira Brattico, and Petri Toiviainen. She received funding from the European Commission to work on this project during the summer of 2017 at the Center for Music in the Brain in Aarhus University in Denmark. Previously, Kendra completed her undergraduate studies in Music Cognition as well as a Diploma in Music Performance (piano) from McMaster University in Canada. At McMaster, she received two Undergraduate Student Research Awards to investigate choral-conducting gestures using three-dimensional motion-capture technology, under the supervision of Dr.’s Steven Livinstone and Rachel Rensink-Hoff. Additionally, she has worked as a research assistant, teaching assistant, private piano teacher, and leader of wilderness camping trips. Kendra will begin doctoral studies in September at McGill University in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience’s Rotation Program.