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HST.725 Music Perception and Cognition, Spring 2004

Figure illustrating areas of the brain that may be involved in different aspects of music perception and performance.
Areas of the brain that may be involved in different aspects of music perception and performance. (Figure by OCW, adapted from Tramo, Mark J. Music of the Hemispheres. Science 291, no. 5501 (January 5 2001): 54-56.

Highlights of this Course

This course includes a bibliography of all readings.

» Watch a video introduction featuring one of the course instructors.
(RM - 56K) (RM - 80K) (RM - 220K)

Course Description

Survey of perceptual and cognitive aspects of the psychology of music, with special emphasis on underlying neuronal and neurocomputational representations and mechanisms. Basic perceptual dimensions of hearing (pitch, timbre, consonance/roughness, loudness, auditory grouping) form salient qualities, contrasts, patterns and streams that are used in music to convey melody, harmony, rhythm and separate voices. Perceptual, cognitive, and neurophysiological aspects of the temporal dimension of music (rhythm, timing, duration, temporal expectation) are explored. Special topics include comparative, evolutionary, and developmental psychology of music perception, biological vs. cultural influences, Gestaltist vs. associationist vs. schema-based theories, comparison of music and speech perception, parallels between music cognition and language, music and cortical action, and the neural basis of music performance.

Technical Requirements

RealOne™ Player software is required to run the .rm files found on this course site.



Prof. Peter Cariani
Prof. Andrew Oxenham
Prof. Mark J. Tramo, M.D., Ph.D. 


Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
2 hours / session




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