Music Cognition

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1. Graduate study in music cognition
2. Undergraduate study in music cognition
3. Music cognition symposia
4. Recent publications and presentations
5. Dissertations

Music cognition is an interdisciplinary field concerned with applying the methods of cognitive science—experimental, computational, and neurological—to musical issues and problems. At the University of Rochester, the Music Theory Department (at Eastman School of Music) and the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department offer an active and supportive environment for music cognition study and research.

In August 2005, the University of Rochester recognized music cognition as an “Interdisciplinary Cluster”, providing additional funding for music cognition events and activities. Learn more »»

Graduate Study in Music Cognition

Although we do not offer a PhD in music cognition, students with interests in music cognition are encouraged to pursue graduate study at Eastman/UR. This can be done either through the PhD program in music theory at Eastman, or through the PhD program in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. Students accepted into one of these PhD programs may design an interdepartmental PhD that combines coursework in both music theory and BCS and a jointly advised dissertation on a music-cognitive topic.

Music Theory PhD at Eastman

Students in Eastman’s theory PhD program have great flexibility in designing their own programs of study, and those with interests in music cognition are encouraged to pursue them. Students take graduate-level courses in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences department, and BCS faculty serve on dissertation committees. The theory department’s graduate-level course offerings include two courses in music cognition: a broad survey course entitled “Music and the Mind” (MTH 260), and a research-focused proseminar (MTH 560) (learn more about the department’s course offerings). The theory department’s Music Research Laboratory has a dedicated room for music perception/cognition experiments. For further information, contact Elizabeth West Marvin (bmarvin@esm.rochester.edu) or David Temperley (dtemperley@esm.rochester.edu).

Visit the theory department’s website »»

Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester

The Brain & Cognitive Sciences department welcomes graduate and undergraduate students with interests in music, especially those wishing to explore connections between music and other areas of cognitive science, such as language, perception, and learning and development. At the graduate level, the department provides training in behavioral, computational, and neural approaches to the study of perception, cognition, and language. Students with interests in music cognition are encouraged to take courses at Eastman and work with Eastman faculty. For further information, contact Professor Elizabeth West Marvin (bmarvin@esm.rochester.edu).

Visit the BCS website »»

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Undergraduate Study in Music Cognition

The undergraduate curriculum in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering requires that students choose a major in one of three areas—Humanities, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences—and complete a “cluster” in each of the other two disciplines. It is now possible to complete a cluster in any of these three areas that includes coursework in music cognition (learn more about undergraduate clusters). Students may also minor in music cognition as a Natural Science (learn more). The Brain & Cognitive Sciences B.A. degree program offers an undergraduate “track” on “Music Cognition and Language” (learn more); the department also offers an undergraduate survey course on music cognition.

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The Eastman/UR/Cornell Music Cognition Symposium

The Eastman/UR/Cornell Music Cognition Symposium normally meets four times a year (twice in the fall and twice in the spring) on Saturday afternoons.

Members of the symposium’s steering committee are:

  • Elizabeth West Marvin and David Temperley, Eastman,
  • Dick Aslin and Joyce McDonough at the UR College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering,
  • Anne Luebke in the UR’s School of Medicine and Dentistry,
  • Zhiyao Duan in the UR’s Department of Electrical and Computational Engineering,
  • Carol Krumhansl at Cornell University, and
  • Peter Pfordresher at the University at Buffalo.

Often, the symposium features invited guests; guests in recent years have included:

Roger Chaffin
Elaine Chew
Sarah Creel
Roger Dannenberg
Steven Demorest
Mary Farbood
Sid Fels
Jessica Graun
Peter Gregersen
Andrea Halpern
Erin Hannon
David Huron
Petr Janata
Ed Large
Steve Larson
Fred Lerdahl
Dan Levitin
Charles Limb
Justin London
Psyche Loui
Elizabeth Margulis
Steve McAdams
Devin McAuley
Josh McDermott
Ken’ichi Miyazaki
Rosemary Mountain
Eugene Narmour
Jean-Jacques Nattiez
Caroline Palmer
Bryan Pardo
Ani Patel
Isabelle Peretz
Dirk-Jan Povel
Bruno Repp
Jean-Claude Risset
Frank Russo
Gottfried Schlaug
Mark Schmuckler
John Sloboda
Barbara Tillman
Laurel Trainor
Sandra Trehub
Victoria Williamson
Robert Zatorre

 

Symposia may also feature presentations of ongoing work by students and faculty at Eastman, UR, and Cornell, and discussions of readings and topics in music cognition. Recent topics have included performance expression, probabilistic modeling, melodic expectation, and music-language connections.

To be added to the symposium’s e-mail mailing list, contact David Temperley (dtemperley@esm.rochester.edu).

Music Cognition Symposia, 2016-17

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Guest speaker: Michael Thaut, University of Toronto
Ciminelli Lounge, Eastman School of Music, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Guest speaker: Caroline Palmer, McGill University
ESM 305, Eastman School of Music, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Spring symposia – TBA

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Some Recent Publications and Conference Presentations

The following list is a sampling of recent publications and conference presentations in music cognition by people at the University of Rochester and Eastman.

  • Ethan Lustig & Ivan Tan (2016). “All about that bass: Timbre and groove perception in synthesized bass.” Poster presented at the International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, San Francisco.
  • David Temperley, Amanda Yung, & Celeste Kidd (2016). “Effects of Range and Proximity on Liking for Melodies.” International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, San Francisco.
  • Adam Waller & David Temperley (2016). “Rhythmic complexity in rap.” Poster presented at the International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, San Francisco.
  • James Sullivan and Elizabeth West Marvin (2015). “Categorical perception of irregular rhythms.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Nashville.
  • Elizabeth West Marvin, Joseph vanderStel, & Joseph Siu (2015). “A qualitative study of absolute pitch perception.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Nashville.
  • David Temperley, Adam Waller, & Trevor de Clercq, “Changes in Rock Harmony, 1950-2010.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Nashville.
  • Joseph VanderStel (2013). “Tonal ambiguity between relative keys.” Milestones in Music Cognition Conference, McGill University.
  • Daphne Tan (2013). “Ernst Kurth at the Boundary of Music Theory and Psychology.” Music Theory Midwest Conference.
  • Joseph Siu (2013). “Perception of the Tritone Paradox among Cantonese and Mandarin Speakers.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Ryerson University.
  • Joseph Siu (2013). “Psychological Limits on Rhythm and Meter.” Graduate Student Workshop, Society for Music Theory.
  • David Temperley & Trevor de Clercq (2013). “Statistical Analysis of Harmony and Melody in Rock Music.” <i.Journal of New Music Research 42, 187-204.
  • David Temperley & Daphne Tan (2013). “Emotional Connotations of Diatonic Modes.” Music Perception 30, 237-57.
  • Andrew Aziz (2011). “Debussy’s ‘Hommage a Haydn,’ Ravel’s ‘Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn’, and the Probabilistic Key-Finding Model.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Jenine Brown (2011). “The Psychological Representation of Musical Intervals in a Twelve-Tone Context.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Keturah Bixby, Joyce McDonough, & Betsy Marvin (2011). “Perceptual grouping: The influence of auditory experience.” Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Katie Cox (2011). “Playing in a Dialect: a Comparison of English and American Vowels and Trombone Timbres.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Robert Hasegawa (2011). “An Acoustic Model for Chord Voicings in Post-Tonal Music.” Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Elizabeth Marvin & Elissa Newport (2011). “The Absolute Pitch Continuum: Evidence of Incipient AP in Musical Amateurs.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Alice Asako Matsumoto & Caroline Marcum (2011). “The Relationship Between Music Aptitude and the Ability to Discriminate Tone Contours in the Cantonese Language.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Andrew Snow & Heather Chan (2011). “Linguistic Influences on Rhythmic Preference in the Music of Bartok.” Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • Daphne Tan (2011). “Past and present conceptions of music in the mind: An introduction to Ernst Kurth’s Musikpsychologie.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • David Temperley (2011). “A Bayesian Theory of Musical Pleasure.”Society for Music Perception and Cognition Annual Meeting, Rochester.
  • David Temperley and Trevor de Clercq (2011). “Key-finding Algorithms for Popular Music.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.
  • David Temperley & Daphne Tan (2011). “The Emotional Connotations of Diatonic Modes.” Biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Rochester.

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Recent Dissertations in Music Cognition

  • Adam Waller. 2016. “Rhythmic Complexity in Rap.” (Advisor: David Temperley)
  • Andrew Flowers. 2013. “The Rhythm of the Polyphonic Conductus: a computational model and its implications”. (Advisor: David Temperley)
  • Daphne Tan. 2012. “Ernst Kurth at the Boundary of Music Theory and Psychology.” (Advisor: Robert Wason)
  • Kelly Francis. 2011. “Attention and Multi-Part Music.” (Advisor: David Temperley)
  • Christopher Bartlette. 2007. “A Study of Harmonic Distance and Its Role in Musical Performance.” (Advisor: David Temperley)
  • Panayotis Mavromatis. 2005. “The Echoi of Modern Greek Church Chant in Written annd Oral Transmission: A Computational Model and its Cognitive Implications.” (Advisor: Matthew Brown)
  • Gavin P. Chuck. 2004. “Toward a Cognitive Theory of Musical Meaning.” (Advisor: Robert Wason)
  • Scott Spiegelberg. 2002. “The Psychoacoustics of Musical Articulation.” 2002. (Advisors: Dave Headlam and Elizabeth Marvin)
  • Nancy Rogers. 2000. “The Role of Verbal Encoding in Musical Memory.” (Advisor: Elizabeth Marvin)

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