Spring 2023

MU 342 Psychology of Music [CRN 21053]

Overview of Course

How do we transform complex sounds into comprehensible and meaningful music? What physiological, neurological, cognitive, and cultural systems are involved? How are music and identity related? Why do we make music in such diverse ways around the globe? Does music have evolutionary or ecological significance? What is the relationship between musical and other forms of hearing, such as auditory scene analysis and speech perception? How are music and language related? What might cross-modal aspects of music listening, such as musical imagery or synesthesia, tell us about musicality and cognition more generally? What can we learn from musical savants and prodigies? Does music participation throughout the lifespan correlate with positive learning and health outcomes? What is the relationship between music, motion, and emotions?

This course explores current research from psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, ethnomusicologists, and artists to illuminate how we hear and how we become musical. It provides an introduction to the field of music psychology that maintains that a listener’s cultural exposure to music also affects their experience of that music. To this end, throughout the course students will be exposed to music from our various ports of call and invited to listen to new music in new ways.