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The Science and Technology of Music


Research Project: The dynamics of music listening

Back to Research Field: Music Perception and Cognition

The dynamics of music listening

  Research Project Information
Runtime: Jan 03, 2009 until Dec 29, 2020
Project coordination: Stephen McAdams
Scientific staff: Stephen McAdams; Jon Wild

This research program represents a large-scale interaction between music theory and music psychology. Listeners are viewed as beings whose understanding of music and emotional responses to it are formed by a given culture or subculture. Experience of music as an intellectual, aesthetic or affective encounter results from cumulative processes occurring over a given period of time. As a result, theorists need to address the sequential aspects of events and structures and psychologists must continuously probe listeners' perceptions and reactions during the act of listening. Music theory has, in the past, more often focused on the means by which music was put together than on how it is received in the listener, which has largely been relegated to the realm of aesthetics. This research program thus focuses on two main aspects of the listening experience, related to musical structure and musical emotion.