Ben Carson  [ email / more info ]  Course number 22032

Mondays 4 - 7 PM in Music Center 245

Office hours — rm 148: Mondays 1:00 - 2:00 pm, Wednesdays 12:00 - 1:00 pm 


Investigations in the psychology of musical listening and awareness. Topics include time and rhythm perception, auditory scene analysis, pattern recognition, and theories of linguistics applied to harmony, melody, and form in the music of diverse cultures. Explores applications of the cognitive sciences to music transcription, analysis, composition, interpretation, and performance practice. Students apply existing knowledge in the cognitive sciences to a developing creative or analytical project, or develop and conduct new experiments. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 16. May be repeated for credit. B. Carson.

Useful links:

Glossary of Terms

Major Project Prompts: Version 1 (Empirical Study) Version 2 (Critical Review)

Society for Music Perception and Cognition’s ”Resources

What is Music Cognition? (According to Ohio State University’s faculty, including David Huron)

The Royal College of Music’s Center for Performance Science


What is the empirical study of music perception—and what should it be? After an initial exploration of traditional empiricism and psychology, we’ll explore the core of Cognitive Musicology as a discipline, which has traditionally focused on the the brain’s processing of music’s acoustic dimensions. More recent empirical studies have examined the impact of social structures, cultural communication, belief systems, and the development of identity, on our experience of music.

Seminarians in 206D will engage in two parallel streams of learning. On the pragmatic level, a series of empirical studies—in no way chosen to be comprehensive or canonical—will familiarize us with current scientific approaches and knowledge, on aspects of music’s relationships to the mind. At the same time, we’ll pursue a series of readings about what it means to think empirically, and how empirical investigations are designed—we do this not only to think critically about the state of the discipline (which, like all science, has plenty of chances to fail!), but to consider the best possible frameworks for our own questions and research.


I. Introduction to Empirical Study (March 28, April 4)

II. Evolution, Ecology, and the Beat (April 11 with Guest Chris Dobrian, April 18)

( My notes on Justus & Hutsler (2005) Fundamental Issues in the Evolutionary Psychology of Music: Assessing Innateness and Domain Specificity. Music Perception 32/1: 1-27. )

III. Dimensions of musical experience, grouping, and streaming (April 25, May 2 with guest Larry Polansky)

IV. Music, Emotion, and Meaning (May 9 with guest Dard Neuman, May 16)

V. Melody and form (May 23 with guest Lisa Margulis)

(Final presentations: Wednesday, June 8 — 7:30-10:30 pm.)


I. Introduction to Empirical Study


[For access to the Nature articles below, you need to be on a campus network, or, if you’re off campus, you need to be logged in for Off Campus Access, with your library barcode.]

Cook, N. (2008). Science & music: Beyond the notes. Nature, 453 (7199): 1186-1187.

Trainor, L. J. (2008). Science & music: The neural roots of music. Nature, 453 (7195): 598-599.


Empirical Studies:

Before reading the studies below, it may be useful for you to scan my (in-progress) “glossary of terms” found in the behavioral and mind sciences. (There are additional background materials on cognitive science and the psychology of music in “Optional Background Reading” below.) In my glossary, take a quick look at the entries on “t-test,” “Pearson coefficient” and “p-value”—they’ll help you understand how the strength of correlational data is assessed. If you find terms in these articles you don’t understand, that you’d like help with, please let me know.


Due April 4:

1. Panksepp, J. (1995). The Emotional Sources of “Chills” Induced by Music. Music Perception 13/2, 171-207.

2. Please participate in Deutsch’s empirical study online, without reading the materials due April 11.


Due April 11:

1. read at least the first two pages, and pp 132-135, of my review of Deutsch’s work, then

2. Deutsch, Diana (1991). The tritone paradox: An influence of language on music perceptionMusic Perception8.4: 335-47. 

[ Optional: Bruno Repp’s Reply, and Deutsch’s rebuttal, are included in the link above. ]

3. Project: Describe (to the group) a “first draft” of an experimental design, in which an independent variable and dependent variable are potentially related, and what confounding variables might make that relationship difficult to learn.


One other provocation:

Dewey, John. (1934). “The Live Creature.” Chapter 1 of Art as Experience. New York: Perigree.


Optional Background reading:

Pfordresherer, Peter et al. “The Scope of the Psychology of Music,” in Siu-Lan Tan, Peter Pfordresher, and Rom Harré, eds. The Psychology of Music: from Sound to Significance. Hove & New York: Psychology Press (Taylor & Francis), 2010.

Reed, Steven K. “The Information Processing Approach,” in Cognition [Fifth Edition]. Belmont: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 1999.

Born, Georgina. “Music Research and Psychoacoustics,” in Jonathan Sterne, ed., The Sound Studies Reader. London & New York: Routledge, 2012.

II. Evolution, Ecology, and the Beat

—> Trouble with JSTOR via UCSC’s off-campus login? You can also read the full-texts online via a free account.

All (April 18th):
Huron, D. (2003). “Is music and evolutionary adaptation?” In I. Peretz & R. J. Zatorre (Eds.), The cognitive neuroscience of music. New York: Oxford University Press. 57-75.
Justus, T., & Hutsler, J. J. 2005. Fundamental issues in the evolutionary psychology of music: Assessing innateness and domain-specificity. Music Perception, 23: 1–27. 



Patel, A. (2006). Musical rhythm, linguistic rhythm, and human evolution. Music Perception, 24: 99-104.

Hauser, M. D. (2009, July). The possibility of impossible cultures. Nature, 460 (7252): 190-196.

Trainor, L.J. (2006). Innateness, learning, and the difficulty of determining whether music is an evoluationary adaptation: A commentary on Justus & Hustler (2005) and McDermott & Hauser (2005). Music Perception, 24: 105-110.

Bispham, John (2006). Rhythm in music: What is it? Who has it? And why? Music Perception 24/2:135-142.

Graham, Roger (2006). Music as Socio-Emotional Confluence: a Comment on Bispham. Music Perception 24/2: 169-170.

Elena Selezneva, Susann Deike, Stanislava Knyazeva, Henning Scheich, André Brechmann, and Michael Brosch (2013). Rhythm sensitivity in macaque monkeys. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 7/49. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764333/>

Peter Cook, Andrew Rouse, Margaret Wilson, and Colleen Reichmuth (2013). A California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) Can Keep the Beat: Motor Entrainment to Rhythmic Auditory Stimuli in a Non Vocal Mimic. Journal of Comparative Psychology, Online First Publication, April 1, 2013. doi: 10.1037/a0032345. See also: <http://news.ucsc.edu/2013/04/sea-lion-beat.html>


Additional reading: 

Fedorenko, E. et al., (2009). Structural integration in language and music: Evidence for a shared system. Memory & Cognition, 37 (1): 1-9. 

Gill, K. Z., & Purves, D. (2009). A biological rationale for musical scales. PLoS One, 4(12), e8144

Grahn, J.A. & Brett, M. (2007). Rhythm and beat perception in motor areas of the brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19: 893-906.

Cross, I. (2003). Music, cognition, culture, and evolution. In I. Peretz & R. J. Zatorre (Eds.), The cognitive neuroscience of music. New York: Oxford University Press, 42-56.

Khalfa, S., Roy, M., Rainville, P., DallaBella, S., & Peretz, I. (2008). Role of tempo entrainment in psychophysiological differentiation of happy and sad music. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 68: 17-26.

London, J. (2004). Meter as a kind of attentional behavior.

McDermott, J. (2008). The evolution of music. Nature, 453: 287-288.

McDermott, J.H. (2009). What can experiments reveal about the origins of music?  

Patel, A. D., Iversen, J. R., Bregman, M. R., & Schulz, I. (2009). Studying synchronization to a musical beat in nonhuman animals. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169: 459-469.

Patel, A. D., Iversen, J. R., Chen, Y., & Repp, B. H. (2005). The influence of metricality and modality on synchronization with a beat. Experimental Brain Research, 163, 226-238. ASSIGNED: pp. 228-237.

Patel, A. D. (2010). Music, biological evolution, and the brain. In: M. Bailar, (Ed.). Emerging Disciplines. Houston, TX: Rice University Press (pp. 91-144). 

Ramachandran V.S. & Hubbard E.M. (2003). Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes, Scientific American, 288(5): 42-4.

Schachner, A., Brady, T. F., Pepperberg, I. M., & Hauser, M. D. (2009). Spontaneous motor entrainment to music in multiple vocal mimicking species. Current Biology, 19: 831-836.


III. Dimensions of Musical Experience

Part Idue April 25
Stevens, S. S. “On the Theory of Scales of Measurement.” In Science, New Series, Vol. 103, No. 2684 (Jun. 7, 1946), pp. 677-680.
And here’s good, brief, primer on the fundamental content of the article above, in plain English. (Or corporatespeak?): Peter Flom. Nominal, ordinal, interval, ratioStatistical Analysis Consulting (Professional/commercial web page). First retrieved September 1, 2013.
Lerdahl, Fred (1992). Cognitive constraints on compositional systems. In Contemporary Music Review 6:2, 97-121.
Part II—(optional for following week)
Bregman, Albert. Auditory Scene Analysis: hearing in complex environments. In McAdams, S. & Bigand, E. (eds.) Thinking in Sound: The Cognitive Psychology of Human Audition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 10-36.
Gregory, Andrew (1994). Timbre and Auditory StreamingMusic Perception 12:2, 161-174.
Povel & Essens (1987). Grouping conditions in listening to music: an approach to Lerdahl & Jackendoff’s grouping preference rules. In Music Perception 4:4, 325-359.

Tekman, Hasan Gürkan (1995). Cue trading in the perception of rhythmic structureMusic Perception13:1, 17-38.


Dowling, W.J. (1973). Rhythmic groups and subjective chunks in memory for melodies. Perception & Psychophysics, 14, 37-40.


Differentiation of dimensions and their impact on perception

McAdams, Stephen (1989). Psychological constraints on form-bearing dimensions in music. Originally in Contemporary Music Review, 4:1, 181-198.
McAdams, S., and Matzkin, D. (2003). “The roots of musical variation in perceptional similarity and invariance.” In I. Peretz & R. J. Zatorre (Eds.), The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 76-94.
Deliège, Irène (2001). Similarity Perception ↔ Categorization ↔ Cue Abstraction. In Music Perception 18:3, 233-243.

Additional reading:

Wessel, David (1979). Timbre Space as a Musical Control Structure. Computer Music Journal, 3/2, 45-52.


Carson, Benjamin (2007). Perceiving and distinguishing simple timespan ratios without metric reinforcementJournal of New Music Research 36/4. 313-336 [focus on pp 317-322].


IV. Music, Emotion, and Meaning


Krumhansl, Carol (2002). Music: A Link between Cognition and EmotionCurrent Directions in Psychological Science 11/2, 45-50.

Balkwill, L., & Thompson, W.F. (1999). A Cross-Cultural Investigation of the Perception of Emotion in Music: Psychophysical and Cultural Cues Music Perception 17/1: 43-64.

REVIEW (from Unit 1): Panksepp, J. (1995). The Emotional Sources of “Chills” Induced by Music. Music Perception 13/2, 171-207.

Main discussion:

Eerola, T., and Vuoskoski J. K. (2013). A Review of Music and Emotion Studies: Approaches, Emotion Models, and Stimuli. Music Perception 30/3, 307-340.

Livingstone, S. R., & Thompson W. F. (2006). Multimodal Affective Interaction. Music Perception 24/1. 89-94.

(For context: Review BC’s notes on Justus & Hutsler (2005) Fundamental Issues in the Evolutionary Psychology of Music: Assessing Innateness and Domain Specificity. Music Perception 32/1: 1-27.)


Leman, M., Desmet, F., Styns, F., Van Noorden, L., & Moelants, D. (2009). Sharing Musical Expression Through Embodied Listening: A Case Study Based on Chinese Guqin Music. Music Perception 26/3, 263-278.

Schäfer, T., Sedlmeier, P. (2011). Does the Body Move the Soul? The Impact of Arousal on Music Preference. Music Perception 29/1, 37-50.


Additional Reading:
Smith, Kenneth (2010). ‘A Science of Tonal Love’? Drive and Desire in Twentieth-Century Harmony: the Erotics of Skryabin. Music Analysis 29:1/3, 234-263.
Koelsch, S. et al. (2004). Music, language, and meaning: Brain signatures of semantic 
processing. Nature Neuroscience 7, 302-307.
Grewe, O., Nagel, F., Kopiez, R., Altenmüller, E. (2007). Listening To Music As A Re-Creative Process: Physiological, Psychological, and Psychoacoustical Correlates Of Chills And Strong Emotions. Music Perception 24/3, 297-314.
Brower, Candace (2000). A Cognitive Theory of Musical Meaning. Journal of Music Theory 44/2, 323-379.
Schellenberg, E. G., Krysciak, A. M., Campbell, R. J. (2000). Perceiving Emotion in Melody: Interactive Effects of Pitch and Rhythm. Music Perception 18/2, 155-171.
REVIEW (see Unit I): Patel, A. (2006). Musical rhythm, linguistic rhythm, and human evolution. Music Perception 24, 99-104.
REVIEW (see Unit I): Patel, A. D., Gibson, E., Ratner, J., Besson, M., & Holcomb, P. J. (1998). Processing syntactic relations in language and music: An event-related potential study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 10, 717-733.

V. Melody and Form


Margulis, Elizabeth (2005). A Model of Melodic Expectation. Music Perception 22/4: 663–714.

Kessler, E. J., Hansen, C., and Shepard, R. N. (1984). Tonal schemata in the perception of music in Bali and the WestMusic Perception, 2: 131-65.

Krumhansl, C. L. (1996), 13, 401–432. Perceptual analysis of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K.282. Music Perception.

{For reference: Lerdahl, Fred (1996) Calculating Tonal Tension. {Contains an analysis to which Krumhansl refers.}

FORM (in Tonal Contexts)

Narmour, Eugene (2000). Music Expectation by Cognitive Rule-Mapping. Music Perception 17/3: 329-398.

Ibid. (1996) Analyzing Form and Measuring Perceptual Content in Mozart’s Sonata K. 282: A New Theory of Parametric Analogues. Music Perception 13/3 (Spring): 265-318.


Schulkind, M.D., Posner, R., and Rubin, D. (2003). Musical Features That Facilitate Melody Identification: How Do You Know It’s “Your” Song When They Finally Play It? Music Perception 21/2 (Winter): 217-249.

Parncutt, R., and Bregman, A.S. (2000). Tone Profiles following Short Chord Progressions: Top-down or Bottom-up? Music Perception 18:1, 25-57.

Krumhansl, Carol, & Kessler, Edward (1982). Tracing the dynamic changes in perceived tonal organization in a spatial representation of musical keys. Psychological Review 89: 334-68.


Burns, E. M., & Ward, W. Dixon. “Categorical perception: Phenomenon or epiphenomenon? Evidence from experiments in perception of melodic musical intervals.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 63 (1978): 456-468.

Krumhansl, C. L., & Shepard, R. (1979). Quantification of the hierarchy of tonal functions within a diatonic context. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 5, 579-594.

Larson, Steve (1997). The Problem of Prolongation in “Tonal” Music: Terminology, Perception, and Expressive Meaning. Journal of Music Theory 41/1, 101-136.


Additional Reading



Moore, Brian C. J. (2004). “Pitch Perception.” In An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing, 5th edition. New York: Elsevier Academic Press. 195-214; 230-31.

Tan, S., Pfordresher, P., & Harré, R. (2010). “Chapter 5: Perception of Musical Pitch and Melody.” In Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance. New York: Taylor & Francis, 73-94.

Lerdahl, Fred (1988). Tonal pitch space. Music Perception 5: 315–349.

Shepherd, Roger. “Circularity in Judgements of Pitch.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 36 (1964): 2345-53.

Butler, David, and Helen Brown (1984). Tonal Structure versus Function: Studies of the Recognition of Harmonic Motion. Music Perception, 2.1 (1984): 6-24.

Kessler, E. J., Hansen, C., and Shepard, R. N. (1984). Tonal schemata in the perception of music in Bali and the WestMusic Perception, 2: 131-65.

Krumhansl, C. L., & Shepard, R. (1979). Quantification of the hierarchy of tonal functions within a diatonic context. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 5: 579-594.

Krumhansl, C., & Kessler, E. J. (1982). Tracing the dynamic changes in perceived tonal organization in a spatial representation of musical keys. Psychological Review, 89: 334-368. {Focus on pp. 340-344.}

Note: Krumhansl & Kessler’s “Experiment 1” makes use of “Shepard’s Tones,” described in the middle paragraph of the right side of p 340. These tones are described in more detail in Deutsch, 1991—and in my review of her work. (See Unit 1.)



Dalla Bella, S., Giguere, J.-F., & Peretz, I. (2007). Singing proficiency in the general population. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 121: 1182-1189.

Racette, A. & Peretz, I. (2007). Learning lyrics: To sing or not to sing? Memory & Cognition, 35: 242-253. 

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., & Ky, K. K. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature 365: 611.

Schulkind, M.D. (1999). Long-term memory for temporal structure: Evidence from the identification of well-known and novel songs. Memory & Cognition, 27: 896-906.