David Temperley

Professor of Music Theory




David Temperley is a music theorist, cognitive scientist, and composer. He received his PhD in music theory from Columbia University, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Ohio State University. Since 2000, he has been professor of music theory at Eastman. Temperley’s primary research area is computational modeling of music cognition; he has explored issues such as meter perception, key perception, harmonic analysis, and melodic expectation. His first book, _The Cognition of Basic Musical Structures_ (MIT, 2001) won the Society for Music Theory’s Emerging Scholar Award; his second book, _Music and Probability_ (MIT, 2007) explores computational music cognition from a probabilistic perspective; his third book, _The Musical Language of Rock_ (Oxford, 2018), is a theoretical-analytical study of rock music, focusing on dimensions such as key/scale, harmony, rhythm, melody, timbre/instrumentation, and form. Temperley also has a strong secondary interest in language research: parsing, sentence production/comprehension, and corpus research.

You can hear Temperley’s compositions and learn more about his research at davidtemperley.com.