Music Psychology Seminar

Term: Spring

Course Director(s): Peter A. Cariani
Th 7-9pm
MIT: E25-101
Course Website:
MIT Units:
2-0-4 (Graduate)
Harvard Units:
The seminar will cover many of the same topics as HST.725, albeit in less depth. Those topics include the psychophysics, auditory neuroscience, and neuropsychology of basic perceptual dimensions and structural aspects of music (loudness, pitch, timbre, consonance, harmony, melody, rhythm, meter, and grouping). The latter half of the course will cover cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and neurology of emotion and meaning, anticipatory tension-relaxation dynamics, pleasure, music therapies, relations between music and language structures and functions, and developmental and comparative psychology of music. Finally, we will take up questions of the evolutionary psychology of music why music might have the profound, manifold psychological effects that it does. As with HST.725, the course will be made as self-contained as possible; we will briefly introduce and review the basic concepts we need to understand the subject matter that we address. The main goal of the course is to provide a comprehensive framework for approaching music perception and cognition in the specific context of auditory neuroscience and the more general context of neuropsychology. For each class meeting we will take up two topics and their associated readings (most of them will be review articles, e.g. similar to those in the Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology,Hallam, Cross & Haut, eds. 2009). For each topic a 45-60' lecture will be accompanied by a 30-45' discussion of the topic and the reading. Students will present one review paper and one paper on a topic of their choosing.

Alternate Year Course