Instructor: Perfecto Herrera
Credits: 5 ECTS

This course focuses on perceptual and cognitive processes that make possible our sound and music sensations. A computational, functional and practical perspective is adopted to organize and develop the concepts, and musical examples play an important role in many sessions.

The course is offered in 12 weeks, with 25 hours of lectures and seminars. The evaluation of the students is based on weekly lab reports, monthly reading assignments, a mid-term empirical research work, a final test (all of them with similar weights on the final grade). Students contributions, under different formats (music, links, class participation) are also items contributing to the final grade.

  • Sessions are mostly "theory", but some "discussion/labs" will be sparsely scheduled, and music listening of selected music tracks is also frequent.
  • Theory sessions will present the most relevant concepts, data, sound/music examples, experiments and papers related to the topics of the course. A document with slides for each tòpic will be made available.
  • The course includes lab sessions to be carried out individually by each student at their own study time. They require an internet connection in order to download documents, play sounds and answer questionnaires. Every lab report is due in limited time after the assignment.
  • The course includes reading activities to be carried out individually by each student at their own study time. They require to read some articles (sometimes several to choose one will be given) and answering a questionnaire. Reading reports are distributed along the course.
  • An empirical research task will be developed, presented and discussed by the first half of the course.

Topics covered

  • Physiology of music perception and cognition
  • Research methods and techniques
  • Psychophysics of the basic sound dimensions: Frequency Resolution
  • Psychophysics of the basic sound dimensions: Loudness
  • Psychophysics of the basic sound dimensions: Pitch
  • Psychophysics of the basic sound dimensions: Timbre
  • Perceptual organization and musical illusions
  • Music and Memory
  • Rhythm
  • Music syntax
  • Music and Emotion

References

  • Ball, P. (2010). The music instinct: how music works and why we can't do without it. London: The Bodley Head.
  • Levitin, D. (2007) This is your brain on music: The Science of a Human Obsession. New York: Penguin.
  • Lyon, R.E. (2017). Human and Machine Hearing: Extracting Meaning from Sound. Cambridge: CUP.