Bryn Hughes

Assistant Professor of Music

The University of Lethbridge


My name is Bryn Hughes, and I teach music theory at the University of Lethbridge.

My research interests include music cognition, music theory pedagogy, and popular music analysis. My dissertation involved an investigation of harmonic expectation in twelve-bar blues progressions. For more information, please feel free to peruse my CV.

I once aspired to be a jazz trumpeter. Right now I mostly play bad piano reductions for my students. I enjoy playing hockey. I root for the Toronto teams, which means I'm disappointed with professional sports most of the time. I have a beautiful wife Jillian, a daughter Trudy, and a son James.


  • Music Perception and Cognition
  • Popular Music
  • Pedagogy


  • PhD in Music Theory, 2011

    Florida State University

  • MA in Music Theory, 2005

    The University of Western Ontario

  • BMus in Music Theory and Composition, 2003

    The University of Western Ontario

Recent Posts

Workflow and Software

Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy all things geeky and nerdy. Part of that is my never-ending quest to find the most efficient, most ethical, and most future-proof software for my work. These three things are often at odds. I thought I would take a moment to document my current workflow. It will be interesting (to me, at least) to come back to this in the future to see how my opinions have inevitably changed.

What have I gotten myself into?

Over the holidays, Jillian and I took the plunge into hi-fi, and bought a new stereo and turntable.1 It's something that we've wanted for a long time, but never really considered until we were relatively permanent in our location. The world of hi-fi is a little intimidating, especially regarding vinyl. Nevertheless, fidelity aside, I've found that playing physical vinyl records, or even CDs, forces me into a more engaged act of listening than when I stream music.

Hug Your Kids

This evening Jillian asked me if I remembered what happened two years ago today. Somehow it had totally escaped me. Two years ago, Trudy had a seizure. And then she had another one at the doctor's office. And then another one in the ER. It was one of the scariest times of my life. It was the week before classes started. We were in the children's ER in Miami, and I kept getting badgered by one of the admins at work about setting up the theory placement exam for auditioning students.

I'm not 20 anymore

I started playing hockey again last year. I'm so grateful that Jillian encouraged me to start playing again when we moved back to Canada. It had been close to 20 years since I played any kind of organized hockey. I'd skated a few times over the years, but I can't remember the last time I even owned skates. Thankfully, I learned to skate when I was 4 or 5 years old, and you don't lose those skills (entirely, anyway).

Recent music that I've liked

In an effort to promote the discovery of new music (something I've resolved to do myself), I thought I'd share a few albums released somewhat recently. If you follow me on social media at all, most of these should come as no surprise (sorry). Below are several painfully and unfairly short reviews. Maybe I'll get around to writing longer ones sometime in the future. Vulfpeck, Thrill of the Arts (2015), The Beautiful Game (2016) Vulfpeck is a funk band from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Backbeat Placement Affects Tempo Judgments

Tactus corresponds with listeners’ perceptions of tempo (Drake et al 2000). Nevertheless, equating tactus rate to tempo may ignore …

Recent Publications

Quickly discover relevant content by filtering publications.

Musical Style Affects the Strength of Harmonic Expectancy

Research in music perception has typically focused on common-practice music (tonal music from the Western European tradition, ca. …

Hacking the Music Theory Classroom: Standards-Based Grading, Just-in-Time Teaching, and the Inverted Class

This article focuses on three “hacks” to the traditional model of music theory instruction: standards-based grading (SBG), just-in-time …