Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia

Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia


Edited by: William Forde Thompson


This first definitive reference resource to take a broad interdisciplinary approach to the nexus between music and the social and behavioral sciences examines how music affects human beings and their interactions in and with the world. The interdisciplinary nature of the work provides a starting place for students to situate the status of music within the social sciences in fields such as anthropology, communications, psychology, linguistics, sociology, sports, political science and economics, as well as biology and the health sciences.

Features: Approximately 450 articles, arranged in A-to-Z fashion and richly illustrated with photographs, provide the social and behavioral context for examining the importance of music in society.; Entries are authored and signed by experts in the field and conclude with references and further readings, as well ...

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
    • Aesthetics and Emotion
    • Business and Technology
    • Communities and Society
    • Culture and Environment
    • Elements of Musical Examination
    • Evolutionary Psychology
    • Media and Communication
    • Musicianship and Expertise
    • Neuroscience
    • Perception, Memory, and Cognition
    • Politics, Economics, and Law
    • Therapy, Health, and Well-Being
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      List of Articles

      Reader's Guide

      About the Editor

      William Forde Thompson is a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University and runs the Music, Sound and Performance Lab. He is also the founding director of the Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise and Training and chief investigator in the Centre for Cognition and its Disorders. He is past president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2007–09), and associate editor for the journal Music Perception and for the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. He is author of the book, Music, Thought, and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music (2nd edition), published in 2014 by Oxford University press.

      List of Contributors

      • Rita Aiello

        New York University

      • Paolo Ammirante

        Ryerson University

      • Christina Anagnostopoulou

        University of Athens

      • James Andean

        University of the Arts Helsinki

      • Artemis Apostolaki

        University of Hull

      • Richard Ashley

        Northwestern University

      • Michael Austin

        Howard University

      • Amee Baird

        Macquarie University

      • Felicity Baker

        University of Melbourne

      • Daniel Bangert

        University of New South Wales

      • Katherine Bank

        University of London

      • Jonathan Bruce Barber

        National Ageing Research Institute

      • David Bashwiner

        University of New Mexico

      • Christine Beckett

        Concordia University

      • Tonya Bergeson

        Indiana University School of Medicine

      • Emmanuel Bigand

        Université de Bourgogne

      • Sarah Boak

        University of Southhampton

      • Sarah E. Boslaugh

        Kennesaw State University

      • Janet Bourne

        Northwestern University

      • Bernd Brabec de Mori

        University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

      • Jillian L. Bracken

        University of Western Ontario

      • Evan David Bradley

        Pennsylvania State University

      • Alessandro Bratus

        Università di Pavia, Cremona

      • Jacob Braun

        Bowling Green State University

      • Roberto Bresin

        KTH Royal Institute of Technology

      • Nancy Bressler

        Bowling Green State University

      • Warren Brodsky

        Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

      • Debra Burns

        Purdue University Indiana

      • Densil Cabrera

        University of Sydney

      • David Cashman

        Southern Cross University

      • Roger Chaffin

        University of Connecticut

      • Alexandros Charkiolakis

        MIAM Istanbul Technical University

      • Juan Chattah

        University of Miami

      • Morgen Chawawa

        Botho University

      • Eddy K. M. Chong

        Nanyang Technological University

      • Linda Cimardi

        University of Bologna

      • Amy Clements-Cortés

        University of Toronto

      • Annabel J. Cohen

        University of Prince Edward Island

      • Michael Conklin

        The College of New Jersey

      • Eduardo Coutinho

        University of Liverpool

      • Lola Cuddy

        Queen's University, Canada

      • Meagan E. Curtis

        State University of New York, Purchase College

      • Eugene Dairianathan

        Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

      • Stephen Davies

        University of Auckland

      • Tereza Virginia de Almeida

        Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

      • Roger T. Dean

        University of Western Sydney

      • Alexander P. Demos

        University of Connecticut

      • Christina M. Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden

        University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      • Diana Deutsch

        University of California, San Diego

      • Frédéric Döhl

        Freie Univrsitat Berlin

      • Paul Doornbusch

        Australian College of the Arts

      • Christopher Dromey

        Middlesex University

      • Tuomas Eerola

        Durham University

      • Athena Elafros

        Keuka College

      • Meredith Eliassen

        San Francisco State University

      • Robert J. Ellis

        Harvard Medical School

      • Paul Evans

        University of New South Wales

      • Peter Fielding

        Mahidol University

      • Amy L. Fletcher

        University of Canterbury

      • Georgina Floridou

        Goldsmiths, University of London

      • Anders Friberg

        KTH Royal Institute of Technology

      • Dustin Garlitz

        University of South Florida

      • Sandra Garrido

        University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia

      • Travis Garrison

        East Carolina University

      • Elise G. M. Gayraud

        Durham University

      • Andrew Geeves

        Macquarie University

      • Monika Geretsegger

        Aalborg University, Denmark/University of Vienna, Austria

      • Joice Waterhouse Gibson

        Metropolitan State University of Denver

      • Bruno Gingras

        University of Vienna

      • Jane Ginsborg

        Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

      • Robert O. Gjerdingen

        Northwestern University

      • Jonathan Glixon

        University of Kentucky

      • Daniel González Moya

        Freie Universitat Berlin

      • Arla Good

        Ryerson University

      • Jessica A. Grahn

        University of Western Ontario

      • Alexander Graur

        University of Torino

      • Anthony Gritten

        Royal Academy of Music

      • Denise Grocke

        University of Melbourne

      • Juliana Guerrero

        University of Buenos Aires

      • Himanshu Gupta

        University of Western Ontario

      • Golan Gur

        Humboldt University of Berlin

      • Lauren Victoria Hadley

        University of Edinburgh

      • Sara Haefeli

        Ithaca College

      • Susan Hallam

        University of London

      • Rachel Hallett

        Keele University

      • Erin Hannon

        University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      • David Hargreaves

        Roehampton University

      • Ralph Hartsock

        University of North Texas

      • Marta Hawryluk

        John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

      • Lars Erik Helgert

        Georgetown University

      • William M. Helmcke

        University of Massachusetts Amherst

      • Ruth Herbert

        University of Oxford

      • Stephen Hinton

        Stanford University

      • Matthew Hollow

        Durham University

      • Lisa Hooper

        Tulane University

      • David Martin Howard

        University of York

      • Michael Huber

        Institute for Musiksoziologie

      • Martyn Hudson

        Newcastle University

      • Bryn Hughes

        University of Miami

      • Elina Hytönen-Ng

        University of Eastern Finland

      • Kelly Jakubowski

        University of London-Goldsmiths

      • Molly Jeon

        Independent Scholar

      • Jörg Jewanski

        University of Münster

      • Jordan Johnson

        Bowling Green University

      • Nicolai Jørgensgaard Graakjær

        Aalborg University

      • Olivier Julien

        Paris-Sorbonne University

      • Melissa Jungers

        Ohio State University

      • Łukasz Kaczmarek

        John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

      • Maria Katsipataki

        University of Durham

      • Kim Kattari

        Texas A&M University

      • Peter E. Keller

        University of Western Sydney

      • Dianna Theadora Kenny

        University of Sydney

      • Neha Khetrapal

        Macquarie University

      • Andrew King

        University of Hull

      • Elaine King

        University of Hull

      • Stefan Koelsch

        Freie Universitat Berlin

      • Dimitra Kokotsaki

        University of Durham

      • Vladimir J. Konečni

        University of California, San Diego

      • Anastasya Koshkin

        Columbia University

      • Franz Kasper Krönig

        Cologne University of Applied Sciences

      • Kinga Krzymowska-Szacon

        John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

      • Belma Kurtisoglu

        Istanbul Technical University

      • Alexandra Lamont

        Keele University

      • Lara Lengel

        Bowling Green State University

      • Lisa Liskovoi

        Ryerson University

      • Marie Pierre Lissoir

        Universite Libre de Bruxelles

      • Fang Liu

        University College London

      • Steven R. Livingstone

        Ryerson University

      • Raymond MacDonald

        Edinburgh University

      • Karl George Madden

        City University of New York

      • Damien Mahiet

        Denison University

      • Stephen Malloch

        University of Sydney

      • Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

        University of Arkansas

      • Flavia Marisi

        Independent Scholar

      • Rossella Marisi

        Independent Scholar

      • Jeremy Marozeau

        Bionics Institute

      • Elizabeth Marvin

        University of Rochester

      • Eldonna L. May

        Wayne State University

      • Susan E. Mazer

        Independent Scholar

      • Karen McAulay

        Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

      • Josh H. McDermott

        Massachusetts Institute of Technology

      • Lytton N. McDonnell

        Rutgers University

      • Brett McKern

        Australian Music Centre

      • Gary E. McPherson

        University of Melbourne

      • Prayrna Devi Mehan

        University of Western Ontario

      • Dawn L. Merrett

        University of Melbourne

      • Dorothy Miell

        Univeristy of Edinburgh

      • Matthew Mihalka

        University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

      • Jennifer Mishra

        University of Missouri

      • Shawn Mollenhauer

        Metropolitan State University of Denver

      • Joseph E. Morgan

        New England Conservatory

      • Terry A. Morrow

        Nova Southeastern University

      • Graça Mota

        Instituto Politecnico do Porto

      • Kathleen M. Murphy

        University of Evansville

      • Eugene Narmour

        University of Pennsylvania

      • Lillooet Nordlinger

        Carleton University

      • Adam Ockleford

        University of Roehampton

      • Brooke M. Okada

        University of Maryland, College Park

      • Rowan Oliver

        University of Hull

      • Kirk N. Olsen

        University of Western Sydney

      • Alessandra Padula

        Conservatorio di Musica “Giuseppe Verdi”–Milan

      • Richard Parncutt

        University of Graz

      • Mercedes Pavlicevic

        Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy

      • Jonathan Geoffrey Secora Pearl

        Independent Scholar

      • Jessica Phillips-Silver

        BRAMS, Montreal

      • Chiara Pierobon

        Bielefeld University

      • Jonathan Pitkin

        Royal College of Music

      • Nick Poulakis

        National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

      • Jon Prince

        Murdoch University

      • Hyacinthe Ravet

        Université Paris-Sorbonne

      • Christina L. Reitz

        Western Carolina University

      • Nicholas Reyland

        Keele University

      • Nikki Rickard

        Monash University

      • Cricia Rinchon

        University of Western Ontario

      • Frank A. Russo

        Ryerson University

      • Stephanie Salerno

        Bowling Green State University

      • Ysabel M. Sarte

        University of Kentucky

      • E. Glenn Schellenberg

        University of Toronto

      • Amanda Scherbenske

        Wesleyan University

      • Klaus R. Scherer

        Swiss Center for Affective Sciences

      • Michael F. Schober

        New School for Social Research

      • Franziska Schroeder

        Queen's University Belfast

      • Emery Schubert

        University of New South Wales

      • Michael Schutz

        McMaster University

      • Steven D. Shaw

        University of Western Ontario

      • Anne Shelley

        Illinois State University

      • Gene Shill

        Australian College of the Arts

      • Marissa Silverman

        Montclair State University

      • Dean Keith Simonton

        University of California, Davis

      • L. Robert Slevc

        University of Maryland, College Park

      • Gareth Dylan Smith

        Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

      • Daniela Smolov Levy

        Stanford University

      • Gaye Soley

        Bogaziçi University

      • Neta Spiro

        University of Cambridge, Nordoff-Robbins

      • Thomas Stegemann

        University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

      • Catherine Stevens

        University of Western Sydney

      • Chris Stover

        New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music

      • Eric S. Strother

        University of Kentucky

      • Johan Sundberg

        KTH Royal Institute of Technology

      • Tom Sykes

        University of Salford

      • Leonard Tan

        Nanyang Technological University

      • Mari Tervaniemi

        University of Helsinki

      • Michael H. Thaut

        Colorado State University

      • Nico Thom

        Lübeck University of Music

      • William Forde Thompson

        Macquarie University

      • Barbara Tillmann

        Lyon Neuroscience Research Center

      • Laurel J. Trainor

        McMaster University

      • Ruxandra Trandafoiu

        Edge Hill University

      • Colwyn Trevarthen

        University of Edinburgh

      • Peter Tschmuck

        University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

      • Giorgos Tsiris

        Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy

      • Leigh VanHandel

        Michigan State University

      • Naresh N. Vempala

        Ryerson University

      • Jonna K. Vuoskoski

        University of Oxford

      • Zachary Wallmark

        University of California, Los Angeles

      • Wayne Warburton

        Macquarie University

      • Sarah L Watson

        University of Western Ontario

      • John L. Whitener

        University of Southern California

      • Victoria Williamson

        University of London-Goldsmiths

      • Graeme Wilson

        Newcastle University

      • Sarah Winokur

        Smith College

      • Reba A. Wissner

        Berkeley College

      • Clemens Wöllner

        University of Hamburg


      Music experiences are among the most pervasive and mysterious of all human activities. In Western industrialized countries, the craft of musicianship is developed through formal training in subjects such as harmony, counterpoint, rhythmic structure, composition, improvisation, and ear training. This training equips expert musicians with a number of practical skills that can be brought to bear in their professional life. However, understanding the role of music in the lives of all people depends on knowledge of many disciplines such as cultural studies, intellectual history, political economy, semiotics, sociology, psychology, neuroscience, and acoustics. These disciplines allow us to investigate fundamental questions about music: Why are we drawn to it? What are its functions in human societies throughout history? Why are some people motivated to spend decades honing their skills to become elite musicians? Are there universal properties of music found in all cultures? How and when did music emerge in human evolution? Does intense engagement with music have emotional and intellectual benefits? Do some forms of music have negative consequences?

      These are a sample of the abiding questions about music that have fascinated scholars throughout history. Yet contemporary scholarship on music is surprisingly fractionated, with numerous disconnected bodies of knowledge that each explains only a small segment of the issues. Too often, scholars entrenched in one domain of inquiry resist embracing or even acknowledging other perspectives on music. This resistance is unnecessary but perhaps understandable: there are few opportunities for these bodies of work to be considered in conjunction with each other.

      Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences was designed to bridge these gaps and encourage scholars to develop a more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of music and its role in human life. It is our hope that the project will stimulate close interactions between the many disparate yet equally valid perspectives on one of the most pleasurable, pervasive, and fascinating of human activities. The volume focuses on scholarship arising from the social and behavioral sciences, complementing existing treatments of music theory and ethnomusicology.

      The focus of the project is timely. In the United States and most industrialized societies, music is experienced passively or actively for several hours each day, and the amount of time that people spend interacting with music is escalating. Piped music is common in public spaces such as shopping centers, airports, and hotel lobbies, presumably because there are perceived economic and social benefits of ambient music. Paradoxically, however, a survey conducted in 1997 by the Sunday Times found that piped music was the third-most hated aspect of modern life, and a number of prominent musicians and celebrities such as Alfred Brendel, Spike Milligan, Stephen Fry, and Joanna Lumley have supported a campaign for freedom from piped music known as Pipedown.

      Pervasiveness of Music

      The capacity to experience music through MP3 devices and smartphones has increased dramatically over the past decade and it is not uncommon to witness a majority of passengers on public transportation and in other public spaces listening to their own music through earphones connected to a mobile phone. These passengers are not just teenagers but people of all ages: children, teenagers, young adults, and older adults. This cultural practice may obviate the negative effect of piped music in public spaces, replacing it with music experiences that are optimized for individual preferences, but socially isolating.

      Music affects everyone, but listening habits vary with age. Children and teenagers are the highest consumers of music. A 2010 survey by Victoria J. Rideout, Ulla G. Foehr, and Donald F. Roberts, “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds,” indicated that 8- to 18-year-olds listen to roughly 2.5 hours of music each day—a dramatic increase from 1.48 hours in 1999. Children aged 8 to 10 reported listening to music for just over an hour each day, whereas teenagers aged 15 to 18 reported listening to music for well over three hours every single day. The youth in society are vigorous consumers of music, and in 2009 they had an estimated market value in the United States of $140 billion.

      More than ever before, listening to music is deeply enmeshed into our social-economy. Throughout the 20th century and motivated by social, economic, and technological forces, music gradually shifted from a collective to an individual activity. The invention of the phonograph allowed public performances to be heard at home, transistor radios meant that music could be experienced in the backyard or bedroom, and today's smartphones deliver music as a fully individualized experience that can be summoned any time, anywhere. Such experiences are themselves a commodity, but they can also add meaning and value to other commodities by association. Advertising strategically uses music to link products with aesthetic and social values, whether OfficeDepot (“Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Tuner Overdrive), Choice Hotels (“I've Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash), Nike (“Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis), Dr Pepper (“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate), or Mercedes-Benz (“Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin).

      Psychological and Neurological Effects

      The psychological effects of music are complex and deserve careful scrutiny. It is now well established that there are widespread benefits of music for well-being and health. Conversely, persistent exposure to violent music, including some forms of rap and death metal, can nurture negative thoughts and behaviors among certain teenagers. The use of music as a form of wartime torture is another example of the potential for music to have negative psychological consequences.

      Such examples illustrate that music is often experienced as a form of communication. Unlike language, music is considered to be nonreferential. However, it often conveys an emotional tone that elicits associated concepts and memories. Music can also trigger states of reminiscence or episodic memories, a function that is especially important among the elderly or diaspora communities. Music can also communicate ideas or concepts through its resemblance to meaningful sounds. A melodic phrase may resemble the pitch contour of a spoken phrase and, in doing so, can connote a question, an expression of playfulness, or the “last word” in a discussion. A slowly bended harmonica note in a blues performance may resemble the vocalization of an individual in a state of emotional turmoil.

      Music can also communicate ideas through repeated association with events, people, places, lyrics, or ideas. It marks our most important personal and cultural events, whether birthdays, graduations, weddings, or funerals. Even when music is not accompanied by words, we have quite concrete understandings of the messages communicated by national anthems, the Happy Birthday Song, lullabies, “Auld Lang Syne,” and Frederic Chopin's “Funeral March.” Such associations develop rapidly in listeners, such that meaning of a musical phrase can be inferred within the span of a single work such as an opera—a characteristic of the lietmotif. Composers capitalize on this capacity of listeners to associate musical figures with a specific person, place, or idea. Richard Wagner's cycle of four operas Der Ring des Nibelungen entails dozens of leitmotifs, used to signify characters, objects, and situations.

      Music is also a powerful medium for representing social and geographical space. Some genres such as samba and flamenco have clear geographical connotations, whereas others may establish a temporary or mobile sense of space, as in the music of nightclubs. Music that implies a strong sense of geographical space is often perceived to be authentic and credible, and yet the spatial connotations of music are becoming fragile with increases in globalization.

      For neuroscientists, music is a window into the human brain. Contrary to the widespread view that musical experiences are processed in the right hemisphere of the brain, we now know that music activates numerous areas across both hemispheres and may overlap with brain regions associated with nonmusical domains such as propositional language (syntactic structure), poetry, and movement. The latter finding highlights a fundamental issue in neuroscience: modularity of function. If music were processed in domain-specific or “modularized” brain areas, then it would be difficult to account for its apparent benefits for nonmusical functions. But we know that music can have many intellectual benefits, ranging from enhanced attention span and working memory capacity to increased cooperative behavior.

      Defining Music

      Underlying such issues is a fundamental question: what is music and can we define it? Are there features that are possessed by all instances of music (necessary conditions) that are also unique to music (sufficient conditions)? Most definitions fail to meet at least one of these criteria. In the 1955 edition of the Oxford Universal Dictionary, music is defined as the art of combining sounds with a view to achieving beauty of form and the expression of thought and feeling. At first glance the definition seems apt: it captures a central goal of music without limiting its scope to Western features of music such as harmony. However, such a definition relies on culture-specific notions of the aesthetic function of music. If there is an essence to music, it must apply to all musical systems worldwide, not just the systems that we know.

      This latter requirement raises the question of whether there are musical universal attributes common to every musical system. The existence of musical universals might, in turn, shed light on the origins of music in human evolution. What are the seeds from which music developed, flourished, and then splintered into a multitude of distinct systems?

      Music touches all of us, and we are at a particularly exciting period in the history of scholarship on music. Never before has music been studied from so many distinct perspectives, and bringing these approaches together has the potential to inspire a new generation of scholars with interdisciplinary knowledge and research strategies. For these reasons, I am delighted to have been involved in the development of Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

      I would like to thank Geoff Golson and the Golson Media team for their continuous expert guidance throughout the period in which this encyclopedia was conceived and produced. The creation of such a comprehensive interdisciplinary encyclopedia would not have been possible without their expert knowledge and advice. Their wisdom and frequent nudges to meet deadlines were appreciated throughout the process. I would also like to thank my associate editors, Alexandra Lamont, Frank Russo, and Richard Parncutt, who provided excellent advice on the choice of entries and authors, and reviewed many of the submissions. Finally, I am deeply indebted to all of the authors for submitting such thoughtful and balanced entries. I am proud to have overseen an encyclopedia with their expertise and knowledge.

      William FordeThompsonEditor


      ca. 570–495 B.C.E.: The life span of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who is credited with discovering that musical intervals could be described as mathematical ratios, as well as developing the concept of the harmony of the spheres.

      4th century B.C.E.: In Harmonic Elements and Rhythmics, the Greek writer Aristoxenus discusses scales and tonality in terms of experiential knowledge rather than mathematical ratios.

      ca. 380 B.C.E.: Plato discusses the influence of music in The Republic, noting that some modes could induce sorrow or laziness.

      ca. 367–347 B.C.E.: Plato composes the Sophist, in which he discusses visual, literary, and mixed musical arts as a type of craft or techne.

      ca. 500 C.E.: The Roman philosopher Boethius writes De institutione musica, a treatise combining original thought with the ideas of Pythagoras and describes three types of music: cosmic, human, and instrumental.

      9th century: The French theorist Aurelian discusses some practical aspects of church music in his Musica disciplina.

      9th century: The anonymous music treatise Musica enchiriadis discusses music theory, including rules for polyphony, and the anonymous treatise Scolica enchiriadis provides commentary on the Musica enchiriadis.

      1026: In the Micrologus, Guido d'Arezzo discusses church music and introduces the solfège syllables ut, re, me, fa, sol, la (now do, re, mi, fa, sol, la).

      15th century: The theorist Johannes Tinctoris writes 12 treatises based primarily on practical concerns in contemporary musical practice.

      1636: The French philosopher Marin Mersenne describes, in his Harmonie universelle, the properties of the frequency of oscillation of a stretched string.

      1686: Sir Isaac Newton publishes his Principia, which includes a discussion of sound as pressure transmitted through particles.

      1790: The German philosopher Immanuel Kant publishes the Critique of Judgment, expounding on the first modern philosophical system to include aesthetic theory as a principle component.

      1804: Edwin Atlee, a student of Dr. Benjamin Rush, mentions the therapeutic value of music in his medical dissertation; a second Rush student, Samuel Mathews, also discusses the therapeutic value of music in his 1806 dissertation.

      1857: Leon Scott de Martinville creates the phonautograph, a device for recording a visual image of sound waves on a cylinder; however, it lacks the capacity to play back the sounds thus recorded.

      1871: Charles Darwin publishes The Descent of Man and outlines his theory of musical origins, which posited that the earliest forms of music emerged from a musical protolanguage that functioned primarily for mate attraction.

      1875: The French physician Hector Chomet wrote in The Influence of Music on Health and Life that listening to music could help ward off epileptic seizures.

      1878: The first recordings are made in Canada as part of a demonstration of Thomas Edison's tinfoil talking machine.

      1887: Emile Berliner invents the gramophone, a device capable of playing back sound recorded on flat discs; Berliner's first discs are five inches in diameter, but he moves to the seven-inch size in 1894, a size that becomes standard in many countries.

      1890: Jesse Walter Fewkes makes the first field recordings, of the songs of the Pima and Passamaquoddy Native American tribes, using Edison cylinders.

      1891: German émigré Emile Berliner establishes the American Gramophone Co. in Washington, and begins to produce seven-inch disc recordings in 1892.

      1892: Hungarian folklorist Béla Vikár makes the first field recordings of Hungarian folk singers. This work was continued by the composer/ethnologists Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, among others, and by 1912, Bartók alone had recorded over 1,000 cylinders of Hungarian traditional music.

      1894: William H. Donaldson and James F. Hennegan found the trade weekly publication BillboardAdvertising, later simply known as Billboard, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

      1895: Hermann L. F. Helmholtz publishes On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music and increases the understanding of psychoacoustic aspects of music such as consonance and dissonance.

      1897: The American inventor Thaddeus Cahill creates the Telharmonium, an early electronic musical instrument.

      1902: The operatic tenor Enrico Caruso records his first songs for the Milanese company G&T. Beginning in 1904, he records only for Victor, and the popularity of his recordings helped broaden the public's view of recorded music, as many early recordings had been of comedy or novelty numbers or band music.

      1904: The Mutual Musicians Protective Union in the United States begins admitting female members as part of the conditions for its affiliation with the American Federation of Labor.

      1907: The Music Educator's National Conference (MENC) is founded in the United States to bring together music teachers and college students; in 1940, MENC became affiliated with the National Education Association.

      1920: The American blues singer Mamie Smith records the song “Crazy Blues” on the Okeh label; the success of this recording encourages major record labels such as Columbia and Paramount to establish “race” divisions to record music for, and market it to, the African American population.

      1921: African American Harry Pace founds a record label, the Black Swan, as a competitor to white-owned “race” divisions of major record labels.

      1923: WBAP, a radio station in Fort Worth, Texas, airs the first “barn dance” (country music) program on U.S. radio.

      1923:Gramophone, a magazine dedicated to recorded classical music, is founded in London.

      1924: The Chicago radio station WLS begins airing the Chicago Barn Dance, later the National Barn Dance. The program was broadcast nationally beginning in 1933, and remained on the air until 1970.

      1925: The Canadiana Performing Rights Society (CPRS) is founded by the Performing Rights Society, a group based in England, in order to regulate copyright issues with regard to public performances of copyrighted music. In 1930, CPRS became partly owned by its American counterpart, ASCAP (the American Society for Composers, Authors, and Publishers).

      1925: The Grand Ole Opry, originally called the WSM Barn Dance, begins broadcasting from the WSM radio studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

      1925: The first modern dynamic loudspeaker is introduced by C. W. Rice and W. E. Kellogg, making use of two relatively new technologies: the vacuum tube amplifier and the transducer.

      1926: Bell Telephone Laboratories, a research organization within the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, creates the first 33 1/3 rpm phonograph discs, the Vitaphone records used for motion picture soundtracks.

      1927: Ralph Peer, a Victor talent scout, discovers traditional musicians the Carter Family, then a trio composed of A. P. Carter, Sara Carter, and Maybelle Carter; they are both prolific and popular, recording more than 250 songs by 1941.

      1927: The Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System, later the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), is founded. In 1928 it was acquired by William Paley, who greatly expanded the firm's activities, and was sold to Sony in 1988.

      1928: The Library of Congress founds the Archive of Folk-Song, later known as the American Folklife Center, to collect materials on folk music and folk tales, including recordings, manuscripts, and printed materials.

      1928: The Russian inventor Leon Theremin patents the theremin, an electronic musical instrument that is played by manipulating the frequency and amplitude of electronic signals through hand motions; notably, the theremin was used on soundtracks for popular movies such as Spellbound (1945) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

      1929: Founding of the Acoustical Society of America, a professional organization for people working in acoustics and related fields, including physics, engineering, physiology, psychology, and architecture.

      1930: The composer Ruth Crawford Seeger becomes the first woman to win a Guggenheim Fellowship.

      1931: EMI opens the Abbey Road Studios in London; their first recording is the London Symphony Orchestra performing Falstaff, and many distinguished artists recorded in the studio over the years, including the Beatles.

      1932:Of Thee I Sing, a musical satirizing American political life written by George and Ira Gershwin, becomes the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

      1932: The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC) is created by Parliament to broadcast Canadian programs; it is superseded in 1936 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a crown corporation independent of the government but responsible to Parliament.

      1934: In the United States, the Federal Communications (FCC) is created to regulate radio and television broadcasts and ensure that the airwaves are used for the interests of the general public.

      1935: The first jukeboxes are placed in restaurants and truck stops, providing an additional method of distributing music.

      1938: Carl E. Seashore publishes Psychology of Music and discusses such topics as musical imagery and imagination, psychoacoustic explanations of music, consonance, rhythm, the acquisition of musical skill, music performance, and talent.

      1938: Antonia Brico, an immigrant from the Netherlands, becomes the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic.

      1939: Alfred Lion and Frank Wolfe establish the jazz label Blue Note in New York City. Among the performers to record for Blue Note are Earl Hines, Thelonius Monk, Sidney Bechet, and Art Blakey.

      1940: The Walt Disney Studio releases Fantasia, an animated film featuring classical music on the soundtrack by composers such as Pyotor Illyich Tchaikovsky, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Igor Stravinsky.

      1942: In the United States, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) calls a strike for all instrumentalists, in response to fears by federation president James C. Petrillo that jukeboxes would put musicians out of work. The strike temporarily brought the recording industry to a halt, and in 1944 a settlement was reached under which a portion of the proceeds of every record sold was paid to the AFM.

      1942: Philosopher Susanne Langer publishes Philosophy in a New Key and argues that musical forms have a dynamic shape that sound the way emotions feel.

      1942: RCA presents the first gold record to Glenn Miller to recognize that his recording of “The Chattanooga Choo Choo” sold 1.2 million copies.

      1945: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) helps boost the Canadian content of broadcasting in Canada by recording works by Canadian artists and composers, and distributing the recordings to radio stations.

      1947: Bell Telephone Laboratories, a research organization within the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, produces the first solid-state transistor, an innovation that quickly replaces vacuum tubes in radios and other sound equipment, and makes possible the miniaturization revolution that created the portable transistor radio.

      1947: Moe Asch and Marian Distler found the Folkways recording label in New York City, issuing an eclectic variety of recordings, including what is now called world music, under the Ethnic Folkways Library label.

      1949: RCA Victor introduces the 45-rpm seven-inch disc as a rival to the Columbia long-playing record (LP); The 45 was not an immediate success as a means of recording classical music but became standard for recording popular music, while the LP remained the standard for classical.

      1950:South Pacific, a musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, becomes the second musical to win the Pulitzer Prize. It is notable for its treatment of racial prejudice among Americans serving in the Pacific during World War II.

      1950: The first professional association for music therapists, the National Association of Music Therapy, is founded in the United States. Its British counterpart, the British Society for Music Therapy, was founded in 1958.

      1950: The Fender Broadcaster, a solid-body electric guitar designed and produced by Leon Fender, becomes the first commercially manufactured guitar of its type; a single solid-bodied electric guitar was built in 1948 by Paul Bigsby for the country musician Merle Travis.

      1951: Both major U.S. record player manufacturers, RCA Victor and Columbia, begin producing turntables that can play all three common speeds for recorded discs: 33-1/3 RPM, 45-RPM, and 78-RPM.

      1952: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is founded to administer copyright fees and represent the interests of manufacturers and distributors of sound recordings.

      1952: Record collector Harry Smith and Folkways record label executive Moe Asch issue the Anthology of American Folk Music, a six-record set of recordings containing music from the 1920s and 1930s previously recorded on 78s.

      1953: David McAliester, Willard Rhodes, and Alan P. Merriam meet during the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association to discuss creating a newsletter for ethnomusicology; the first issue of the Ethno-Musicology Newsletter is produced in December.

      1955: ABC Records is founded by the American Broadcasting Company and Paramount Theaters as the Am-Par Record Company. Originally ABC distributed children's music but expanded to the teen-pop market (e.g., Paul Anka) in 1958, added the jazz subsidiary Impulse! in 1960, and purchased Dunhill Records in 1966.

      1955: Betty Robbins is appointed cantor for Temple Avodah, a Reform Jewish congregation in New York, making her the first female cantor in the United States.

      1955: The Society of Ethnomusicology (SEM) is founded during the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association; the SEM holds its first annual meeting in Philadelphia in 1956.

      1956: The MGM science-fiction film Forbidden Planet, directed by Fred Wilcox, becomes the first film to have a soundtrack consisting entirely of electronic music; the score was composed by the married couple Louis and Bebe Barron.

      1956: Leonard Meyer publishes Emotion and Meaning in Music and highlights the pivotal role of expectation in music.

      1957: RCA presents recording artist Harry Belafonte with the first gold record awarded for an LP, for his album Calypso, in recognition of the album selling over 1 million copies.

      1958: The American philosopher John Dewey publishes Art as Experience, in which he argues that aesthetic experiences are the most rich and complete experiences a human being can have, and that during an aesthetic experience an individual experiences an integration of past, present, and future.

      1958: Paul Farnsworth publishes The Social Psychology of Music and discusses how musical behaviors, appreciation, and aesthetic responses are influenced by cultural factors.

      1958: Robert Frances publishes La Perception De La Musique—also his Ph.D. thesis. The book outlines 16 experiments on short-term and long-term memory for music, using real pieces of music and exploring perceptual judgments, polygraph measures, semantic judgments, and preference.

      1958: American pianist Van Cliburn, a native of Louisiana, wins the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which makes him world-famous. Cliburn's 1958 recording of the Pyotor Illyich Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto goes on to become the first classical LP to sell over 1 million copies.

      1958: The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) begins awarding gold records to singles and albums that achieve sales of at least $1 million; the standard was redefined in 1976 to sales of 500,000 units.

      1958: The Country Music Association (CMA) is founded in Nashville, Tennessee, to promote country music on radio and television; as part of this effort, the CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 and created the CMA awards in 1967.

      1958: The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) gives the first Grammy Awards, recognizing the best performers and groups in popular and classical music and spoken arts.

      1959: Berry Gordy founds the record label Motown in Detroit; it becomes the most successful and best-known black-owned record label in the United States.

      1960: German immigrant Chris Strachwitz founds Arhoolie Records, a label specializing in Cajun, Zydeco, blues, and Tex-Mex music; Clifton Chenier, Mance Lipscomb, and Lightnin’ Hopkins are among the artists who have recorded on the Arhoolie label.

      1960: The House Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight holds a series of hearings investigating the practice of “payola” (paying to get music played over the radio). Alan Freed, a DJ at WINS in New York and a champion of rock 'n’ roll and black musicians, was the focal point of the investigation, although payola was a common practice throughout American radio at the time.

      1963: Philips introduces the analog audio cassette. Although professionals continue to use reel-to-reel tape, cassettes become very popular among hobbyists and people making recordings for personal use, until replaced by digital technologies such as the recordable compact disc (CD).

      1964: The Canadian periodical RPM establishes the RPM Gold Leaf Awards, later known as the Juno Awards, to Canadian recording artists with the highest sales over the previous 14 months.

      1965: In Chicago, pianist Muhal Richard Abrams founds the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, later the Art Ensemble of Chicago, to facilitate the work of avant-garde jazz musicians and composers.

      1967: The American singer Arlo Guthrie records his Alice's Restaurant album, including the title tune of the same name, based on a true story about his experience with the military draft in the United States.

      1968:Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical opens on Broadway after a successful debut in 1967 at the Public Theater; it incorporates contemporary themes including drug use, sexuality, and protests against the Vietnam War.

      1969: Walter Carlos (later Wendy Carlos) releases Switched on Bach, the first successful electronic music album; it was recorded using the Moog synthesizer, developed by Robert Moog, and won two Grammy Awards.

      1969:Hee-Haw, a television program featuring many stars of country music, begins broadcasting on CBS. The show is cohosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark and features many well-known country musicians and performers, including Roy Acuff, Grandpa Jones, and Stringbean (David Akeman).

      1970: The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) begins requiring Canadian radio broadcasters to include at least 30 percent Canadian content, thus increasing the market for Canadian recordings.

      1970: The Country Music Hall of Fame, established in 1961 by the Country Music Association, inducts its first female members: Maybelle Addington Carter and Sara Dougherty Carter Bayes, both members of the famed Carter Family. Three years later, Patsy Cline becomes the first solo female performer to be inducted into the CMA Hall of Fame.

      1971: American folk singer John Prine releases the album John Prine, featuring the song “Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore,” an attack on exhibitions of patriotism in the context of the Vietnam War. The album also includes the song “Sam Stone,” about an American veteran who returns from the Vietnam War addicted to heroin.

      1971: Carole King wins the Grammy Awards, given by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), for Song of the Year, for “You've Got a Friend,” and for Recording of the Year, for It's Too Late; she is the first woman to win in each of these categories.

      1972: The Society for Research in the Psychology of Music and Music Education is founded, allowing researchers with common interests in music psychology to discuss their research.

      1973: The journal Psychology of Music is founded to support the growing interest in research on the sensory, perceptual, cognitive, and social foundations of music.

      1973: Linda Tillery and Mary Watkins found Olivia Records to record and promote women's music; their first release, also in 1973, is a 45 featuring songs by Cris Williamson and Meg Christian.

      1973: John Blacking publishes How Musical is Man? The book discusses the social and biological nature of music, and initiates discussions about the nature of music, its role in education, and its role in society.

      1975:A Chorus Line, written by Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban, James Kirkwood, Jr., and Nicholas Dante, includes a character who performs in a drag show; the play was a hugely popular success, holding the record for most consecutive performances until 1997, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976.

      1975: Nancy Van de Vate founds the League of Women Composers, later the International League of Women Composers, to support and promote the work of women composers in classical music.

      1976: The Synclavier, designed at Dartmouth College by John Appleton, Sidney Alonson, and Cameron Jones, becomes the first commercially marketed digital synthesizer.

      1976: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) begins awarding platinum records to singles and albums that sell at least 1 million units.

      1976:The Outlaws, recorded for RCA by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, becomes the first country music album to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), meaning that it sold over 1 million copies.

      1981: The journal Psychomusicology is founded, and publishes articles on topics such as music and memory, music perception, and musical acoustics.

      1983: In order to strengthen the credibility of music therapy as a profession, the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) is incorporated; it holds its first board examination in 1985.

      1983: The American composer Ellen Taafe Zwilich wins the Pulitzer Prize for Music for her Symphony no. 1 (Three Movements for Orchestra); she is the first woman to win this honor.

      1983: Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff publish A Generative Theory of Tonal Music and outline a model of tonal music based on psychological and linguistic principles.

      1983: The journal Music Perception is founded by Diana Deutsch, who is its first editor. The journal becomes a leading publication for the field of music perception and cognition.

      1983: Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, creates the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This organization began inducting members in 1986, and chose Cleveland to be the location of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, although the building itself did not open until 1995.

      1985: The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in Cinevision Corp v. City of Burbank, states that musical expression is entitled to the protections of the First Amendment.

      1985: John Sloboda publishes The Musical Mind and provides an enjoyable and comprehensive introduction to the cognitive science of music.

      1985: American singer Steven Van Zandt and producer Arthur Baker organize Artists United Against Apartheid, which produces the album Sun City as well as the title song of the same name.

      1986: David Hargreaves publishes The Developmental Psychology of Music and discusses research on how children learn about music, and how they acquire musical skills at different stages of development.

      1986: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Don and Phil Everly, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmy Yancey, Robert Johnson, Alan Freed, Sam Phillips, and John Hammond.

      1989: The first meeting of the International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition is held in Kyoto, Japan. For the first time, researchers from all over the world interested in the psychology of music congregate and discuss their research.

      1989: Richard Parncutt publishes Harmony: A Psychoacoustic Approach and provides a model of harmony and chord perception that considers auditory physiology and the spectral content of tones. His model is proposed as an extension and improvement of ideas originally proposed by Ernst Terhardt.

      1990:Falsettoland, a one-act musical written by William Finn, is one of the first mainstream musicals to include a character with AIDS.

      1990: The U.S. Society for Music Perception and Cognition is founded and begins to host conferences that attract researchers from music, psychology, and neuroscience.

      1990: Carol Krumhansl publishes Cognitive Foundations of Musical Pitch, which describes her landmark research on the tonality, the probe-tone method, and the tonal hierarchy.

      1990: Albert Bregman publishes Auditory Scene Analysis: The Perceptual Organization of Sound. The book describes how acoustic information is separated into various streams of information. This work would later by used extensively by David Huron to account for the rules of voice leading.

      1990: Eugene Narmour publishes The Analysis and Cognition of Basic Melodic Structures: The Implication-Realization Model. The book outlines a new theory of melodic structure based on the tonal implications generated by two-tone sequences and the realizations that follow such “implicative intervals.” Numerous researchers would evaluate his model empirically.

      1995: Published in both Japanese and English, the Journal of Music Perception and Cognition is founded and provides a placement for the growing number of Japanese researchers studying the cognitive and perceptual foundations of music.

      1996:Rent, a musical written by Jonathan Larson and based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Boheme, includes several characters that are gay or lesbian, and also several characters that have AIDS. Rent wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the seventh musical to do so.

      1997: The journal Musicae Scientiae is founded by Irene Deliege and provides another European outlet for disseminating research on the psychological foundations of music.

      1997: The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, recognizing the growth of the Latin music market in the United States, creates the Latin Academy of Recorded Arts and Sciences and begins awarding Latin Grammys three years later.

      1997: Don Campbell publishes The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit, a controversial and popular book claiming that listening to classical music can improve the mental function of children. Many researchers would later refute these claims.

      1997: Julie Aigner-Clark founds the Baby Einstein Company, originally know as Julie Aigner-Clark Films. The company produces educational videos including music, stories, and numbers, and is now a subsidiary of Disney.

      1999: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) begins awarding diamond certification to singles and albums that sell at least 10 million units.

      1999: Shawn Fanning launches the Napster file-sharing network, which allows users to find and download virtually any recorded music for free; a 2000 survey by the Pew Research Center found that almost one in four adult Internet users said they had downloaded music from the Internet, and that Napster was the most popular means to do so.

      2000: A survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds that most (78 percent) individuals who say they download music from the Internet to their computers do not think of this practice as stealing, and 61 percent are unconcerned about whether the music they download is protected by copyright or not.

      2000–present: A rapidly expanding number of academic books and textbooks on psychological and neurological aspects of music are published, including David Temperley's The Cognition of Basic Musical Structures (2004), Justin London's Hearing in Time: Psychological Aspects of Musical Meter (2004), Michael Thaut's Rhythm, Music, and the Brain (2005), David Huron's Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation (2006), Aniruddh Patel's Music, Language, and the Brain (2008), William Forde Thompson's Music, Thought and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music (2009/2014), Elizabeth Margulis's On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind (2013), Stefan Koelsch's Brain and Music (2013), and many others.

      2001: Apple, Inc. releases the first version of iTunes, an application to organize and play digital audio (and later video files) on personal devices.

      2003: During a London concert, Natalie Maines, lead singer of the country music band The Dixie Chicks, says that the band is ashamed that President George W. Bush is from Texas because of American aggression in Iraq. Although there is a U.S. backlash, the band continues to be successful, winning five Grammy Awards in 2007 alone.

      2003: Apple, Inc. opens the iTunes store, which allows consumers to buy music (including single songs) in electronic form over the Internet, at the time a revolutionary concept; by 2008 the iTunes store had become the largest music vendor in the United States.

      2004: A survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project indicates that lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) seem to have discouraged music downloading; about 14 percent of those surveyed in December say they currently download music, as opposed to 29 percent surveyed in March and April.

      2005: Steven Mithen publishes a popular book on music and evolution called The Singing Neanderthals. Mithen proposes that music began as an early form of communication among Neanderthals that was holistic (unsegmented), manipulative (affecting emotional states), multimodal (involving both sound and action), musical (combining melodic and rhythmic elements), and mimetic (involving sound symbolism).

      2006: The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood files a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the Baby Einstein Company and two other companies, alleging that these companies falsely claimed that watching their videos would make children smarter; the claim was dismissed in 2007.

      2006: Daniel Levitin publishes a popular book called This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. The book describes his own journey from musician to music producer and his gradually increasing interest in the psychology and neuroscience of music. A New York Times bestseller, the book combines personal anecdotes with entertaining accounts of selected scientific findings.

      2007: Neurologist Oliver Sacks publishes Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain and describes a number of fascinating cases of individuals with unusual conditions that relate to music, including musical hallucinations, tone deafness (amusia), musical savants, and musical seizures.

      2008: The Swedish company Spotify AB creates the Spotify music streaming service; users can pay a monthly fee for ad-free, unlimited content, or, depending on their home country, receive content with ads or be limited to a set number of hours of listening per month.

      2010: A survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds that 65 percent of adult Internet users have paid to download content from the Internet, with music, apps, and software being downloaded the most.

      2011: A survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds that almost three-quarters (74 percent) of U.S. adults age 34 or younger own a portable music device (e.g., an iPod or similar MP3 player), a higher percentage than own a laptop computer (70 percent) or game console (63 percent), and that almost half (47 percent) of all adults own a portable music player.

      2012:Nashville, a drama series created by Callie Khouri and centered around a group of country musicians in Nashville, Tenessee, begins airing on ABC.

      2013: In October, Lauren Maybery of the Scottish band Chvrches writes an editorial in the Guardian pointing out that she, and many other female musicians, must deal with the burden of social media hate speech (e.g., rape threats) specifically targeting them as women.

      Sarah E.Boslaugh, Kennesaw State University
    • Glossary

      • Acoustic recording: The earliest form of music recording, which was used until it was replaced in 1925 by electrical recording. In acoustic recording sounds are played into a horn, which activates a diaphragm attached to a stylus, which transfers the energy from the sound waves to a cylinder or disc.
      • Acoustics: The study of the physics of sound; the term is also used more narrowly, to describe the sound qualities of a particular auditorium or room.
      • Aesthetic experience: A term introduced in 18th century philosophy by Immanuel Kant and others to describe the pleasures felt in the presence of something beautiful, such as a work of art or a sunset.
      • Altricial: The condition of being unable to move or survive on its own after birth, such that an altricial infant is dependent on parental care for survival. The term is contrasted with “precocial.” Human infants are altricial; bees and butterflies are precocial because they can survive on their own almost immediately after birth.
      • Ambience: The acoustic characteristics of a room or other space; a space without much reverberation is characterized as “dead” while a space with a high degree of reverberation is characterized as “live.”
      • Amusia: A condition in which an individual is unable to differentiate among musical pitches and may have other impairments in musical processing as well. By definition, amusia is not a result of problems such as deafness or lack of exposure to music. The condition can be present at birth (congenital amusia) or can arise following brain injury, for example, from a stroke (acquired amusia).
      • Aphasia: A condition characterized by partial or complete loss of language abilities. An inability to speak is referred to as expressive (or non-fluent) aphasia. An inability to understand speech is referred to as receptive (or fluent) aphasia.
      • Art as Experience: A 1958 book by the American philosopher John Dewey, in which he argues that the most complete and rich experiences available to humans are aesthetic experiences, during which one experiences an integration of the past, present, and future.
      • Articulators: The set of anatomical structures in the mouth responsible for speech production. Articulators include the tongue, jaw, palate, and lips.
      • Atlantic: An independent record label founded in 1947 by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson; Ray Charles, the Drifters, and the Modern Jazz Quartet are among the artists who recorded for the Atlantic label.
      • Audible Frequency Range: The range of sound that can be heard by a person with normal hearing, usually estimated from about 20 hertz (Hz) to 20,000 Hz.
      • Baby Einstein: A company founded by Julie Aigner-Clark in 1997, as Julie Aigner-Clark Films, to produce educational videos including music and stories. In 2006 a complaint was filed with the Federal Trade Commission charging that the Baby Einstein Company and two other companies falsely claimed that viewing their products would improve a child's intelligence, but the complaint was dismissed in 2007.
      • BMI: Broadcast Music Inc., a licensing organization created by radio station executives in 1940 after another licensing organization, ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers tried to double the fees they charged to play music owned by their members over the air.
      • Brain anatomical structures: The brain consists of the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem. The cerebrum is composed of the cerebral cortex, the basal ganglia, and the limbic system, and is divided into the left and right cerebral hemispheres. The brain may also be classified anatomically and functionally into a number of lobes, including the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the occipital lobe, the temporal lobe, the limbic lobe, and the insular cortex. Auditory processing is generally associated with the temporal lobe but complex musical behaviors are associated with activity throughout the brain.
      • La Cage aux Folles: A musical written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman that opened on Broadway in 1983 and became a popular and commercial success with mainstream theater audiences. It is sometimes called the first gay musical because the story centers on the relationship between two gay men.
      • Capital: A record label established in 1932 by Johnny Mercer, Glenn Wallichs, and Buddy DeSylva. Capital recorded many popular artists, including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Paul Whiteman, and in the 1960s recorded the Beach Boys as well as numerous country and western (e.g., Merle Haggard, Buck Owens) and British Invasion groups (e.g., Freddie and the Dreamers).
      • “The Carnival of the Animals”: An 1896 musical work by the French composer Camille Saint- Saëns for two pianos and orchestra. Today it is often performed with narrated verses by the poet Ogden Nash, and is a popular piece in children's concerts, because the different sections use different parts of the orchestra and represent different animals; for instance, the section “The Swan” features a solo cellist.
      • Catharsis: A term introduced in Aristotle's Rhetoric to mean the pleasure provided by purging the emotions of pity and fear by experiencing them in an art work.
      • Central nervous system (CNS): That part of the body's nervous system that includes the brain, the spinal cord, and spinal nerves. The CNS controls the functioning of the body.
      • Circle of fifths: A map of musical notes in which adjacent positions on the circle are represented by notes separated by an interval of a perfect fifth (the interval between do and sol). Twelve positions are illustrated on the map, such that all notes of the chromatic scale are represented. The circle of fifths has been useful in the analysis of harmony, whereby each position on the circle is understood to be a chord name. Neighboring chords on the circle are psychologically proximal, and movement between adjacent chords on the circle is very common in Western classical and popular music. The circle of fifths has also been used in the analysis of key change.
      • Cover: A song recorded by a musician but that is more closely associated with a different musician. Popular recordings are often covered: for instance, after Bing Crosby's recording of Irving Berlin's “White Christmas” became a hit, more than 400 other artists also recorded the song.
      • Critical band: A hypothetical frequency range within which two or more auditory inputs give rise to sensory interactions. The most common sensory interaction is masking, whereby one auditory input masks or obscures a second input, often because it is louder. One definition of the critical band is the smallest distance in frequency beyond which masking no longer occurs.
      • Crossover: A recording or artist that is successful in one market, and then becomes successful in one or more additional markets; for instance, country singer Glen Campbell became popular in the mainstream pop market in the 1970s.
      • Cue: Any sensory attribute that can be used to classify, interpret, remember, or identify the sensory input. In ethology, a cue is sometimes contrasted with intentional forms of communication, which are called “signals.”
      • “Degenerate music”: In German, entartete Musik was music condemned by the Nazi government in Germany in the 1930s as being decadent or otherwise harmful to the public. The definition of degenerate music included jazz, music by modernist composers such as Arnold Schoenberg, Jewish musicians such as Felix Mendelssohn, and political music such as that written by Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler.
      • Deliberate practice: In the expertise theory of K. Anders Ericsson, a type of practice that is extremely focused and concentrated on improvement at the boundary of an individual's current expertise, and which is carefully monitored by the individual performer or by an expert such as the individual's teacher.
      • Double dissociation: A clinical research outcome in which deficits in two cognitive or behavioral measures appear to be uncorrelated with one another, suggesting that they are associated with distinct brain mechanisms. For example, one patient may have impaired music perception skills but normal language skills, whereas a second patient may exhibit impaired language skills but normal music perception skills. Such a double dissociation between music and language would suggest that these two domains are associated with distinct brain areas at some levels of processing.
      • Ecological validity: The extent to which an experimental or laboratory situation approximates real-world conditions. Results from investigations that are high in ecological validity are more easily generalized to natural, nonexperimental circumstances. However, it is difficult to achieve high ecological validity in tightly controlled experiments designed to elucidate specific effects, because the real world typically involves many unpredictable changes in multiple aspects of the environment.
      • Enculturation: The process by which explicit or implicit knowledge about the norms, symbols, and values of any culture or society are acquired and internalized. Enculturation occurs rapidly in early development but is a lifelong process.
      • Equal temperament: A system of musical tuning in which the frequency ratio between any two notes is constant; the result is a system in which music may be written in any key, but no interval except the octave is perfectly in tune as it would be in a solely intonation tuning system.
      • Eurhythmics: A method of musical education developed in the early 20th century by the Swiss educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, which uses movement to teach musical expression, structure, and rhythm.
      • Event-related potential (ERP): Electrophysiological activity arising from the brain in response to a physical or cognitive event. The timing of such responses is used to infer the brain mechanisms that are involved in processing the event.
      • FCC: The Federal Communications Commission, an agency created in 1934 to regulate radio and television broadcasts and ensure that the airwaves are used for the interests of the general public.
      • Fetes des belles eaux: A 1937 composition by the French composer Olivier Messiaen for six Ondes Martenot, an electronic musical instrument invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot.
      • Field recordings: Recordings of traditional music made “in the field,” that is, in the music's natural environment rather than in the studio; the first field records were made in 1890 and captured the songs of the Zuni and Passamaquoddy Native American tribes.
      • Folkways: A record label created in New York City in 1947 by Moe Asch and Marian Distler, and that was notable for the broad variety of recordings it issued, including many in the category now known as “World Music.”
      • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): An influential technique for imaging the brain during cognitive or physical activity, often by highlighting areas of the brain that require increased blood oxygen during such activities. The technique allows researchers to understand the relation between complex thoughts or behaviors and brain activity.
      • Grammar: A set of rules that govern the use of language, music, dance, or any other complex behavior or communication system.
      • Grammy award: A series of awards given annually since 1958 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), recognizing performers and groups in a variety of categories, and including popular, classical music, and spoken arts.
      • Grand Ole Opry: An American country music radio and television program established as the WSM Barn Dance in 1925, by George D. Hay. The Grand Ole Opry has featured some of the biggest stars in country music over the years, including Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, and Dolly Parton.
      • Grooming: A social activity observed in chimpanzees and other animals whereby one individual removes parasites from another individual. It is thought that grooming behavior functions as a mechanism for social bonding among animals, supporting social relationships and group cooperation. Some theorists believe that the music also functions to support social bonds.
      • Hair cells: Specialized receptors of hearing located in the cochlea of the inner ear. Sound entering the ear causes movement of the eardrum and ultimately movement of specific hair cells. Movement of hair cells triggers electrical nerve impulses that ultimately lead to the experience of audition.
      • Hammond organ: An electric organ developed by the American engineers Laurens Hammond and John M. Hanert and introduced to the commercial market in 1935. The Hammond organ was originally marketed to churches but it also proved popular among jazz, rock, and reggae musicians.
      • Harmonic and harmonic series: A harmonic is a frequency component (or partial) of a complex sound wave that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency. For example, a frequency component that is three times the fundamental frequency is a harmonic. The harmonic series describes a set of frequencies that share a large common divisor. For example, the sequence 100, 200, 300, 400 … represents a harmonic series with a fundamental frequency of 100, whereas the sequence 100, 187, 221, 223, 263 … is not a harmonic series.
      • Harmonic Elements and Rhythmics: A treatise written in the 4th century B.C.E. by the Greek writer Aristoxenus that contains the first known theoretical writing about music. Harmonic Elements discusses scales and tonality not in terms of mathematical ratios (as did Pythagoras), but in terms of experiential knowledge.
      • Hominin: A term in evolutionary biology that refers to contemporary humans, extinct human species, and their ancestors.
      • Imaginary Landscapes: A series of musical pieces by the American composer John Cage that incorporates nontraditional sources of sound. For instance, the instruments used in Imaginary Landscape No. 1, written in 1939, include two variable-speed turntables; Imaginary Landscape No. 3, written in 1942, includes audio frequency oscillators and variable speed turntables; and Imaginary Landscape No. 4, written in 1951, uses 12 radios.
      • Infant-directed song: A technical term for lullabies and other songs directed at infants.
      • Inharmonic: A frequency component (or partial) of a complex sound wave that is not an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency. Inharmonic frequencies are especially prominent in instrument sounds such as bells and gongs, whereas harmonic frequencies are prominent in instrument sounds such as the oboe or clarinet. It is usually difficult to perceive a clear pitch when there are prominent inharmonic frequencies associated with a sound.
      • De institutione musica: A treatise on music written about 500 C.E. by the Roman philosopher Boethius, which described three types of music: cosmic, human, and instrumental.
      • International Society for Music Education (ISME): An international organization, founded in 1953, for professionals interested in promoting music learning.
      • Just Tuning: Also called “just intonation” or “pure intonation,” a tuning system in which the frequencies of notes can be expressed by ratios of small whole numbers, for example, 3:2.
      • Kodaly Method: A method of music education developed by the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály in the 1930s, using techniques including rhythmic movement, rhythm syllables, hand signs, and solfége.
      • Languages of Art: A 1976 book by Nelson Goodman arguing that the intellect plays a key role in aesthetic experiences, and that during aesthetic experiences, an individual's emotions and cognitions work together.
      • Magnetoencephalography (MEG): A technique for studying the brain that considers the electromagnetic fields that are produced by electrical activity in the brain.
      • Masking: A term in psychoacoustics that refers to the difficult of hearing one sound in the presence of another sound. If the masking sound occurs after the masked sound, the effect is called “backwards masking.” Research on the conditions that lead to masking effects has provided insight into the nature of the auditory system.
      • Mental representation: A concept in cognitive psychology that refers to the storage of information such as ideas, rules, concepts, and images. Understanding the structure of our mental representations often requires careful experimental methodologies.
      • Micrologus: A music treatise written around 1026 by the Benedictine monk Guido d'Arezzo that describes different methods of performing Gregorian chant and also introduced syllables for a six-note ascending scale (ut, re mi, fa, sol, la), a concept adopted by modern solfège techniques.
      • MIDI: Musical instrument digital interface, a technical standard agreed upon in 1982 that allows electronic musical instruments and computers to communicate through electronic signals.
      • Modularity: A concept in the philosophy of cognition that refers to the distinctive and noninteractive aspects of mental processing. Modular systems are thought to operate independently from one another, such that modules are restricted in the kind of sensory, perceptual, or cognitive information they can access. This property, called information encapsulation, explains why a visual illusion can persist at a perceptual level even when we are aware at a cognitive level that it is an illusion. For example, knowing that two lines in the Müller-Lyer illusion are the same length does not change the fact that they look different in length.
      • Mood: A feeling or experience that extends over time. Moods are sometimes differentiated from emotions because their presence is not well explained by a specific cause or origin.
      • Musilanguage: A concept referring to a possible evolutionary precursor to music and language with characteristics of both domains. Although the existence of such a precursor is unknown, theorists have reasoned that it may have functioned for emotional communication among ancestral populations.
      • Napster: A peer-to-peer Internet music sharing service developed by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The original version of Napster operated from 1999 to 2001, when it was shut down by court order, due to copyright infringement. A second version of Napster was operated by Roxio from 2006 to 2010, as a legal, advertising-supported music streaming service, and is currently available as a subscription-based music streaming service operated by the online music subscription service Rhapsody.
      • Neurologic music therapy: Any music-based therapy used to treat a neurological impairment such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, or aphasia. Rhythmic auditory stimulation, for example, has been used to treat motor problems among individuals with Parkinson's disease.
      • NIHL: Noise induced hearing loss; hearing loss caused by damage to the auditory system from excessive sound intensity. NIHL can be caused by a single exposure (e.g., a loud explosion) or can occur gradually over time from repeated exposure (e.g., from workplace noise or listening to loud music).
      • Octave: The interval between two pitches, when the frequency of the higher pitch is twice that of the lower pitch; for instance, the note with a frequency of 880 Hz is one octave above the note with a frequency of 440 Hz.
      • Ondes Martenot: An electronic musical instrument invented by the French musician Maurice Martenot. Introduced in 1928, the Ondes Martenot produces sounds similar to that of the theremin, and was incorporated into works by composers such as Olivier Messiaen, Arthur Honegger, and Darius Milhaud, as well as for film soundtracks and the music for television series.
      • Orff Schulwerk: A method of musical education, developed by the German composer Carl Orff and educator Gunild Keetman in the 1920s, which combines music, drama, and speech in a setting that emphasizes play and improvisation.
      • Overtones: The frequency components or “partials” of a complex tone. Overtones that are multiples of the fundamental frequency are also called harmonics, but overtones can also be inharmonic.
      • Perfect pitch: Also known as absolute pitch, the ability to identify a note without being provided with any point of reference.
      • Peripheral nervous system (PNS): Those parts of the nervous system that are outside the brain and spinal cord and that serve the limbs and organs.
      • “Peter and the Wolf”: A 1936 composition by the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev for orchestra and narrator; it was commissioned by the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow and is often used to introduce young people to classical music because it incorporates a folktale and associates different characters with different musical instruments and themes.
      • Phaedrus: A dialogue during which Plato discusses the pleasures provided by art and considers the effects of some types of art on a person's character.
      • Poème électronique: An electronic musical composition by the French composer Edgard Varése that was first performed at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958.
      • Poetics: A work containing notes on the aesthetic theory of Aristotle, probably written between 347 and 342 b.c.e., and which includes his theory of the catharsis of emotions as one of the pleasures provided by the experience of art.
      • Positron emission tomography (PET): A technique that has been used to examine how the brain responds in various contexts, such as listening to music. A short-lived radioactive tracer isotope is first injected into the participant, and the metabolically active molecule becomes concentrated in relevant areas of the brain. The participant is then placed into an image scanner to reveal areas of brain activity.
      • Primary auditory cortex: An area of the brain located in the temporal lobe and comprising parts of Heschl's gyrus.
      • Pythagorean Comma: A musical distance of about a quarter of a semitone, which is the difference (in the just tuning system) between 12 perfect fifths and seven octaves.
      • Relative pitch: The capacity to perceive and remember relationships between pitches. Relative pitch allows us to recognize a familiar melody sung by a man, woman, or child (at different starting pitch positions) as long as the relative distances between the pitches are maintained. It also allows us to recognize and differentiate harmonic events, such as major and minor chords.
      • Savant syndrome: A psychological term describing someone who is mentally and/or socially impaired, but has outstanding abilities in a specific field, such as music performance.
      • Schenkerian analysis: An influential technique of analyzing music invented by music theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868–1935). A goal of Schenkerian analysis is to reveal hierarchical relationships in music by distinguishing between structural and nonstructural (e.g., ornamental) notes. With this technique, analysts can move from the surface structure of the music (the actual notes) to progressively deeper levels of music, ultimately revealing the fundamental structure, or Ursatz.
      • Seashore Tests of Musical Ability: A series of tests published in 1919 by the Swedish-American psychologist Carl Seashore. The tests are able to determine perceptual and cognitive skills believed to be important in learning music and are intended for use with children between the ages of 9 and 18.
      • Semantic memory: Recall of factual information, (e.g., how to perform mathematical operations) that is not linked to specific events in an individual's life.
      • Sexual dimorphism: Differences in behavior and form between males and females of the same species. Bird calls and peacock features are examples of sexually dimorphic traits because they are exhibited differentially in male and female birds.
      • Signal: Any sensory input that is the result of an intentional act of communication by an organism. Signals are used to classify, interpret, remember, or identify sensory input. In ethology, a signal is sometimes contrasted with features of the environment that are informative but not an intentional act of communication (see cues).
      • Solfège: A method of music instruction that assigns syllables to pitches; in the United States, the syllables are do, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti for the standard tonal scale. In the “fixed do” method, the syllables are associated with fixed pitches, so that “do” is always C, “re” always D, and so on, while in “movable do” methods the tonic note of a scale is always “do,” the second scale step “re,” and so on.
      • Standardized Tests of Musical Intelligence: A series of tests first published in 1939 by the British psychologist Herbert Wing. These tests are intended for use with children ages 9 through 18 and are based on the theory that there is a general factor of music ability similar to the “g” or “general intelligence” factor that Carl Spearman believed could be identified and measured through intelligence testing.
      • Stream: A perceptual experience of a single line of sound that arises from the same source. Well-formed melodies are experienced as an auditory stream.
      • “Sun City”: A protest song written by Steven Van Zandt in 1985 to promote opposition to the policy of Apartheid (racial separation) in South Africa; a large number of musical artists participated in recording the song, including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Pete Townshend, and Pat Benatar.
      • Suzuki method: A method of teaching music to children developed by the Japanese violinist Shin'ichi Suzuki, based on learning by ear and memorizing music, with music reading introduced later. Suzuki training can begin at a very young age, using scaled-down instruments appropriate to a child's size, and also assumes adult supervision (usually by a parent) of the child's practice sessions.
      • Synesthesia: A rare condition in which stimulation to one perceptual or cognitive domain, such as music, leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in other sensory modalities, such as color. Famous musicians with synesthesia include Duke Ellington, Billy Joel, Györgi Ligeti, Franz Liszt, Eddie Van Halen, and Kanye West.
      • Tactus: A Renaissance term that refers to the beat of music. The tactus also refers to the experience of a regular pulse in music, indicated by the rate at which people tap their feet or clap their hands to music.
      • Techne: The word for “craft” used in Plato's Sophist, a category including all kinds of making or doing, including the visual, literary, and mixed musical arts.
      • Telharmonium: An early electronic musical instrument developed by the American inventor Thaddeus Cahill in 1897; Cahill gave concerts on the Telharmonium in the early 20th century, and Telharmonium music was also transmitted over telephone wires, but the instrument fell out of popularity, largely due to technical difficulties caused by its extreme weight and size.
      • The Ten Thousand Hour Rule: A rule of thumb stating that it takes about 10,000 hours of concentrated practice to achieve excellence in a field such as musical performance or chess; this principal is based on research by K. Anders Ericsson and others.
      • Theremin: An electronic musical instrument named after its inventor, Leon Theremin, who received a patent for it in 1928. The theremin is played by manipulating the frequency and amplitude of electronic signals through hand motions, without ever touching the apparatus, and is best known for its use on the soundtracks for popular movies such as Spellbound (1945) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
      • Trautonium: An electronic musical instrument invented in 1929 by Friedrich Trautwein. The first public performance of the Trautonium took place in 1930 and featured Oskar Sala and Paul Hindemith, and Hindemith would later write several pieces for or incorporating the trautonium.
      • Tritone: A musical interval formed by notes three whole steps apart, for example, C and F sharp; the tritone is also described as a diminished fifth, because it is one half step less than a perfect fifth, or an augmented fourth, because it is one half step greater than a perfect fourth. In the common practice musical tradition, the tritone is considered a dissonant interval, and was described in the 18th century as “the devil in music” (diabolus in musica).
      • “The Unanswered Question”: Six lectures delivered by the American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein at Harvard University in 1981, in the Charles Eliot Norton lecture series, and later published in book format. In these lectures, Bernstein states his desire for researchers to uncover a musical grammar similar to the generative grammar of language discovered by Noam Chomsky, one that would explain why humans are able to understand music.
      • Woodstock Music & Art Fair: A three-day music festival held in 1969 on a farm owned by Max Yasgur in New York State. Attended by some 400,000 individuals, despite rainy weather, the festival was considered a key moment in the history of American popular music and was commemorated in the 1970 documentary Woodstock, directed by Michael Wadleigh.
      • The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra: An educational 1946 composition by the British composer Benjamin Britten, which introduces the various instruments of the orchestra through an arrangement of a melody by Henry Purcell.
      • Zoomusicology: A field of research that considers how animal calls may have influenced the development of music.
      Sarah E.Boslaugh, Kennesaw State University

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      African Music
      Annual Review of Jazz Studies
      Asian Music
      Australasian Music Research
      British Journal of Music Education
      Cambridge Opera Journal
      CMA Closeup
      Computer Music Journal
      Contemporary Music Review
      Critical Studies in Improvisation
      Down Beat
      Early Music
      Early Music History
      Electronic Music Educator
      Empirical Musicology Review
      Entertainment and Sports Law Journal
      Entertainment Law Journal
      Ethnomusicology Forum
      Ethnomusicology Online
      Ethnomusicology Review
      General Music Today
      International Journal for Music Education
      International Journal of Musicology
      Jazz Education Journal
      Jazz Perspectives
      Jazz Research Journal
      Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
      Journal of Country Music
      Journal of Film Music
      Journal of Historical Research in Music Education
      Journal of Jazz Studies
      Journal of Music and Healing
      Journal of Music Perception and Cognition
      Journal of Music Teacher Education
      Journal of Music Therapy
      Journal of New Music Research
      Journal of Research in Music Education
      Journal of the Royal Musical Association
      Latin American Music Review
      Miscellanea Musicologica: Adelaide Studies in Musicology
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      Assessing Musical Abilities Objectively: Construction and Validation of the Profile of Music Perception Skills

      Lily N. C.Law, MarcelZentner*, Department of Psychology, University of York, York, United Kingdom

      Across sciences, interest in music has been rising steeply in recent years (see Figure 1). One reason for this development is a growing concern to understand the role of musical ability in nonmusical faculties, ranging from motor skills and general intelligence to language processing and socio-emotional competencies, such as empathy. Understanding these links might also be relevant to the understanding of deficits in these domains. For example, rhythm skills have been found to be impaired in dyslexic children and training those skills holds promise as a remedy [1]. Another reason lies in the still poorly understood origins of human musicality in terms of both its evolutionary origin and its genetic transmission [2]. Unfortunately, progress in understanding these relationships is hampered by the lack of an objective and standardized instrument to measure musical abilities. Although aspects of music perception and production have been extensively investigated [3], there has been little interest in the development of a psychometrically sound and construct-validated test capable of diagnosing individual differences in musical ability. The goal of the current research is to fill this gap.

      Figure 1. Percentage increase in publications from 2005 to 2011. Source is Web of Science. Number of publications across the time period is higher for language (539 to 817) and memory (1,140 to 2,031) than for music (81 to 162), but growth is faster in the music domain. As shown by the decrease in art-related publications, the increase in music publication is not due to a general increase in scientific publications relating to the arts. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g001

      Current Assessment Practices

      In the absence of objective measurement tools, researchers often use self-reported musicianship to estimate the presence of musical ability. In the majority of medical, neuroimaging, and psychological studies, a binary classification is used that compares the performance of musicians versus nonmusicians on variables such as general IQ and mental abilities [4,5], brain structure [6], language processing [7,8], vocal emotion recognition [9], memory [10], motor skills [11], and even creativity [12], to cite some recent examples.

      This practice is sensible, but has a number of limitations. First, being a “nonmusician” does not, in and of itself, denote an absence of musical ability. The ability may be undiscovered, or circumstances may have prevented its development. Among the musically untrained, some people might reach a high level of musical proficiency if given the time and opportunity to do so. We refer to these individuals as musical sleepers because of their existing, but dormant musical skills. Sleeping musicians, in turn, are individuals whose musical proficiency languishes despite multiple years of training, degrees, and certificates. This metaphor, though a simplification, is useful in pinpointing the need for a tool that is capable of reducing errors of categorization by identifying individuals who have higher (or lower) musical skill than would be expected from their extent of musical training.

      Second, degrees and qualifications provide at best an estimate of generic musical accomplishment. Yet, once a link between general musical ability and another ability, trait, or disorder is established, the next obvious question concerns the type of musical capacity that plays a key role in the relationship (e.g., tempo, pitch, rhythm, timbre, melody perception, or any combination of these). Such specific information is not only key to the scientific analysis of the relationship under examination, but could also have a role in devising treatment plans. Third, most experimental research on musical behavior today looks at neurobiological or psychological outcome variables that are measured with sophisticated instrumentation and are scaled continuously. Relating these fine-grained measures to a dichotomous predictor of uncertain validity is wasteful and bound to weaken the results.

      The Concept of Musical Ability

      There is no agreement on how musical ability might be best measured with objective tasks. This is in part a result of the complexities involved in defining ability and, to an even greater extent, music. Although some of us will think of Beethoven symphonies, The Beatles' songs, or current forms of popular music as epitomes of “music,” these are selective exemplars of an almost endless spectrum of musical varieties, as ethnomusicologists will readily point out. An important insight provided by ethnomusicological studies is the heterogeneity of music across different societies, a heterogeneity that has come to cast the Western conception of music in a new light (e.g., [13,14]). For example, functional harmony, which relies on the sophisticated use of diatonic key relationships, has been a hallmark of much Western tonal music between 1600 and 1900, but it plays a negligible role in Indian classical music, Central African drumming music, or in much modern Western art music. Musical systems and styles also vary considerably in the emphasis they put on rhythmic organization and in the type of preferred rhythmic grouping or meter [15]. Thus, a fundamental question in developing tasks for assessing musical ability is whether the tasks are supposed to test the comprehension of a specific, culturally evolved musical system, or the ease of processing of elementary patterns of rhythm and sound that can be found across various musical systems and traditions. Our aim here was to devise a test that prioritizes the latter. However, this is a matter of emphasis and should not be equated with the goal of developing a culture-free music test.

      The concept of ability similarly encompasses a variety of meanings and definitions, ranging from an understanding of exceptional ability as a result of enhancement of cognitive and physiological adaptation brought about by extended deliberate practice [16], to environmental and intrapersonal catalysts [17], to the notion of innate giftedness [18]. Our understanding of musical ability is consistent with the notion of “potential for learning music” before formal training and achievement ([19], p. 627). Prima facie support for the distinction between musical potential and musical training comes from the common observation that individuals with the same degree of musical acculturation appear to differ in their musical capacities, such as in the ease or speed with which they are able to reproduce a song or learn a musical instrument.

      Previous Musical Aptitude Test Batteries

      Several authors around the middle of the last century developed musical aptitude batteries. Some of the more prominent of these musical aptitude tests are described in Table 1. These tests are generally very difficult to access today and were characterized as obsolete over a decade ago (e.g., [20,21]). Some limitations of these tests stem from their objective to measure children's generic musical aptitude (e.g., [22–26]). Against this background, it is understandable that the authors paid relatively little attention to the minutiae of stimulus design and control, or to the systematic revision of subtests based on item analysis and improvement.

      Table 1. Overview of previous musical ability tests.

      Specifically, one of the problems in the previous batteries was that their subtests often measured a combination of skills rather than the specific skill purportedly targeted by a given subtest. For example, in an attempt to make stimuli more “musical” than those devised by Seashore, Wing's “rhythmic accent test” [26] and Gordon's tempo test [23] are presented in melodic form, although the particular perceptual modalities they assess relate to timing rather than melodic skills. This makes it difficult to unambiguously attribute performances to one skill rather than to a combination of skills [27]. Another confound resulted from the use of human performers in the recording of the auditory test materials, which led to stimuli with undesirable inconsistencies in timing, timbre, and intensity between standard and comparison trials, or even slips in the performances.

      A third problem is that, to the contemporary ear, many of the audio sample sounds used in previous tests sound impure or distorted, either due to limitations in recording techniques of the time, or to the quality of the audio material having degraded over time. There were also problems in the overall design of the batteries due to an unequal number or duration of stimuli within a subtest, to variations in the answer format across subtests (e.g., [22,25,28]), or to insufficient control of response bias and guessing patterns, which are today commonly addressed by coefficients such as d’.

      Fourth, the procedures used for inferring test validity and reliability are tenuous by contemporary standards. Reliability estimates were based on obsolete indicators of internal consistency; test-retest reliability was examined only occasionally (see Table 1); and, with the exception of Gordon's batteries, the validation procedures were not described in sufficient detail to allow robust inferences about the tests' actual validity [20]. Fifth, crucial aspects of music perception skills relating to timbre, tuning, or tempo, are not assessed with the batteries currently available (see Table 2). For these reasons, it is not surprising that music aptitude batteries developed in the last century are not used in current research on music and the mind.

      Table 2. PROMS tasks included and not included in previous music aptitude batteries.

      Although more recent music-related test batteries are based on sound principles of test construction and validation, these batteries were specifically devised to capture deficits rather than individual differences in musical perception skills within the normal range. For example, the Montreal Battery Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA) was developed to assess amusia [29]. Another battery, the Clinical Assessment of Music Perception (CAMP), was developed to evaluate the music perception of adults with cochlear implants [30]. The Musical Ear Test (MET), exclusively measures skills in melody and rhythm perception [31]. The Goldsmith Musical Sophistication Index is a more elaborate tool to measure musical skills in the normal population. However, findings are preliminary and incomplete [32]. It is perhaps for this reason that investigators prefer to create their own tasks (e.g., [33,34]), but these tasks do not lend themselves easily to comparisons across studies, thereby preventing the incremental accumulation of knowledge that is vital to progress in any branch of science.

      Construction of the Profile of Music Perception Skills

      In order to fill the current gap in musical ability tests for normal or general adult populations, we aimed at creating a battery that should meet four criteria: (1) The test should be equally suitable for listeners who differ in the extent and in the type of their musical background; (2) the test should be more inclusive than previous batteries with respect to the musical perceptual components tested; (3) the test should assess each perceptual component with the greatest possible specificity; and (4) the test should meet contemporary standards for test construction in terms of validity and reliability. These goals made it necessary to confine the musical material to relatively basic sound patterns varying in pitch, rhythm, and timbre. The use of basic and abstract rather than complex and contextualized musical stimuli has some advantages. For example, musical compositions almost inevitably connote a certain musical system or style, thereby conferring an advantage to listeners who are familiar with the type of music being instantiated. In contrast, proto-stimuli are stylistically neutral. Furthermore, musical compositions usually conflate several perceptual features at once, thereby undermining the specificity of a subtest. Elemental music stimuli, in contrast, can be configured so as to test one specific perceptual skill at a time, leaving others aside. Perhaps full-fledged or elaborate musical passages can be manipulated in ways that ensure a similar degree of control; yet we could not see how this may be achieved.

      It is important to note that the use of basic and abstract musical stimuli does not necessarily compromise criterion and predictive validity. For example, single-letter knowledge and phoneme discrimination are among the most sensitive predictors of broader measures of linguistic proficiency, such as reading ability (e.g., [35–38]). Similarly, the Raven Progressive Matrices test–one of the most sensitive measures of general mental ability, including numerical ability and language proficiency (e.g., [38,39])–consists of abstract visual patterns that do not stand out as obvious items for the measurement of general mental ability. Thus, it is not unreasonable to expect that musical stimuli of similar parsimony would be predictive of real-life musical proficiency. In the selection of musical dimensions, we prioritized those that are relatively salient across musical systems and styles over others that may be highly salient in certain types of music, but play only a negligible role in others [14,15]. Thus, we included tasks that tap perceptual sensitivity to tempo, tuning, timbre, rhythm, pitch, and melody, the first three of which were hardly examined in previous batteries. This is surprising considering that sensitivity to these dimensions appears as early as in infancy [40,41] and that it is of great importance in the perception of almost any type of music, notably variations in expressive intent [42–46]. We chose to call this battery the PRofile Of Music-Perception Skills (PROMS). The term “perception” is not used in contrast to “cognition;” it denotes that our battery examines perception of music rather than production or performance of music.

      Study 1: Characterization of the PROMS and Preliminary Results
      Materials and Methods

      A total of 78 listeners participated in Study 1. They were students and staff from the university who participated in exchange for either course credit or a cash reward of 5 pounds. Because of the length of the test, 39 participants were allocated to one part of the test (Group 1: melody, accent, timbre, tempo) and the other 39 to the second part (Group 2: rhythm, rhythm-to-melody, pitch, tuning, loudness). Listeners in Group 1 were six males and 33 females (mean age = 20 years, SD = 2; range 18–27). Listeners in Group 2 were seven males and 32 females (mean age = 21 years, SD = 3, range 19–31). Twenty of 39 listeners in Group 1 and 18 of 39 in Group 2 described themselves as either music students or amateur musicians; the others had received minimal or no music education.


      From the criteria described in the introduction, we created a battery consisting of nine subtests, tapping skills across various subdomains of pitch, rhythm, and sound quality (e.g., timbre).

      Melody. All melodies were monophonic and composed of constant rhythms (eighth notes). The musical notes of the stimuli ranged from G3 to C5 (C4 as the middle C), middle range of an 88-note keyboard/piano. The difficulty of the trials was manipulated by increasing note density and atonality. Atonal melodies are more difficult to encode compared to tonal ones (see [47,48]). Examples of easy and complex melody structures are given in Figure 2. Stimuli were composed with the “harpsichord” timbre from Logic Pro 9 [49] because it is relatively neutral, i.e., less familiar to most listeners compared to the sound of piano, violin, or electric guitar.

      Figure 2. Example of melody trials. An easy trial consists of a tonal melody (upper part) as opposed to a complex trial, which is atonal (lower part). *Represents the alteration in the comparison-stimuli. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g002

      Standard rhythm. The standard rhythm subtest is similar to previous rhythm tests consisting of simple patterns of quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. The intensities of all notes were held constant. The comparison stimuli in the easy trials had one or more notes added or subtracted on the downbeat. Moderately difficult test stimuli were changed on the upbeat note. Complex trials were rhythmic patterns consisting of sixteenth notes, with test trials having rhythm alterations on sixteenth notes (see Figure 3). Each stimulus was two bars long. The rhythm subtest was delivered with “rim shot” voice from Logic Pro 9 [49] for its pure percussive, clear, and crisp timbre.

      Figure 3. Example from the standard rhythm trials. An easy trial consists of a simple rhythm (mostly quarter notes and eighth notes), as compared with a complex trial, which consists of a more complicated rhythm (eighth notes and sixteenth notes). *Represents the alteration in the comparison-stimuli. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g003

      Rhythm-to-melody. This subtest introduces a novelty relative to earlier rhythm tests by targeting listeners' ability to recognize a rhythmic pattern when it is no longer provided in its original form (i.e., in nonpitched percussive form), but embedded in a melody. Thus, listeners must attend to the rhythmic structure of a melody without being influenced by its pitch contour. Specifically, listeners are asked whether a rhythmic pattern, presented initially in percussive sound, is the same or different in a subsequently presented melodic context. All melodies in this subtest were tonal to avoid diverting listeners' attention from rhythm to atypical melodic features (see Figure 4).

      Figure 4. Example of rhythm-to-melody trials. An easy trial consists of a simple rhythm (mostly quarter notes and eighth notes), as compared with a complex trial, which consists of a more complicated rhythm (eighth notes and sixteenth notes). All melodies (comparison-stimuli) are tonal. *Represents the alteration in the comparison-stimuli. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g004

      Accent. This subtest assesses skills in discerning the relative emphasis given to certain notes in a rhythmic pattern. As such, it is related to the concepts of meter in music and of stress in speech. The absolute note durations (rhythms) were identical between standard and comparison stimuli. The accented notes were presented in the intensities of the other subtests, whereas the intensity of the unaccented notes was lowered by 3dB. In the easy test trials, intensity changes were applied to most sound events so as to increase the probability of detecting the alteration. In the moderate and difficult test trials, there were fewer intensity changes, which required more subtle perceptual skills to be identified (see Figure 5). As in the standard rhythm subtest, stimuli were composed with “rim shot” voice from Logic Pro 9.

      Figure 5. Example of accent trials. The top figure shows the level domain of the accent subtest and the bottom figure shows the time domain of the accent subtest. As the top figure shows, the intensities of the accent notes (a) are represented by the sign>in the time domain figures, Accent (a'). Accent (b) shows the unaccented notes (second, third, and fourth beats) are −3 dB lower than the accented note, which can also be seen in the comparison-stimulus in the time domain - Accent (b'). The example of a complex trial shows the alteration affecting only one or two events. *Represents the alteration in the comparison-stimuli. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g005

      Tempo. Listeners were presented with musical stimuli having either the same or a different tempo in the comparison stimuli. To manipulate the difficulty of the trials, the comparison stimuli differed from the standard stimuli between 7 bpm (easy) and 1 bpm (difficult). In order to attenuate the risk that preference for a given instrument or rhythm might affect the performance on this test (e.g., [50]), we used stimuli with differing rhythmic structures and timbres. The timbres were drums, bass, harmony, and melody (multilayers); conga and shaker (dual layers); and rim shot voice (monolayer). Stimuli were within the range of 110 bpm to 130 bpm, given listeners' general preference for 120 bpm (e.g., [51]).

      Pitch. The material of the pitch subtest was derived from a 2,000-ms sinusoid with a 250-ms linear onset and offset ramp to de-emphasize the salience of the on- and offsets [52]. The intensities of all notes were held constant. Sinusoids, or pure tones, were used in this task because use of complex tones can result in pitch changes being perceived as a result of harmonics rather than fundamental frequency [53]. The difficulty level of the pitch subtest was manipulated by varying the degree of the pitch difference between the standard and comparison stimulus (range of 7 to 50 cents, or 2 to 12 Hz, pivoting at the frequency of 440 Hz). We chose this frequency because it marks the center of a range in which music from various styles is typically composed. However, because this frequency also happens to be the standard pitch to which musical instruments are tuned for a performance (“concert pitch”), we cannot rule out that it may provide an enhanced familiarity cue to classically trained musicians.

      Timbre. Instead of using pure tones [25], we aimed at emulating the sounds of original instruments as closely as possible. To this end, we used original instrument sounds from the Vienna Symphonic Library [54]. We used chords of four notes (C4, E4, G4, C5) to produce a rich timbre with a possibility for making very subtle changes. The duration of the chords was 1.5 s. The difficulty was varied by means of subtle changes to the instrumentation in each chord. In easy trials, the comparison was between two chords played by different families of instruments such as horn versus strings. In the moderately difficult trials, the replacement occurred in only one of the four voices (e.g., woodwind C4, woodwind E4, woodwind G4, and woodwind C5 against woodwind C4, violin E4, woodwind G4, and woodwind C5). In the difficult trials, the replacement occurred within the same family of instruments (e.g., a viola sound is replaced by a violin sound; Figure 6).

      Figure 6. Illustration of the timbre subtest. The easy trial consists of two groups of instruments from altogether different families. In the complex trial, the instrument changes on only one note are taken from the same family (strings). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g006

      Tuning. As in the timbre subtest, each stimulus consisted of C4, E4, G4, and C5 to form a C chord of 1.5 s in length. This combination of diatonic harmony was chosen because it is relatively “culture free,” thereby attenuating the risk of misunderstandings about “correct tuning” due to listeners' musical backgrounds [55]. Piano sound samples from the Vienna Symphonic Library were used. The difficulty level of the test trials was varied by subtle manipulations to the E note (a range of 10–50 cents; see Figure 7).

      Figure 7. Illustration of tuning trials. The difficulty of tuning trials is manipulated by the extent to which the note E4 is shifted out of its proper frequency (from 10 to 50 cents). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g007

      Loudness. Stimuli consisted of 2,000-ms sinusoids with a 250-ms linear onset and offset ramp to de-emphasize the salience of the on- and offsets, as in the pitch subtest. The frequency in the loudness test (440 Hz) was held constant. The intensity ranged from 3 dB higher than the standard loudness level to 6 dB below the standard level. The difficulty level of the trials was varied by the intensity difference of the standard and comparison trials: 6 to 7 dB (easy), 3 to 5 dB (moderate), and 1 to 2 dB (complex).

      Procedure. Each subtest had 18 trials with an equal number of “same” and “different” trials. To facilitate encoding of the standard stimulus, we presented the standard stimulus twice, followed by the comparison stimulus. There was a 1.5-s interval between the standard stimulus and its repetition, followed by a 2.5-s interval preceding the onset of the comparison stimulus. We provided multiple answer options, involving levels of confidence, namely, “definitely same,” “probably same,” “probably different,” “definitely different,” and “I don't know” (for a similar scheme, see [56]). The “probably” and “definitely” answer choices capture listeners' confidence ratings; and the “I don't know” option reduces guessing and response bias when the listeners are not sure about the correct response [57]. The base stimulus differed across trials to discourage listeners from relying on a fixed internal reference in their memory –a technique known as roving [58].

      All audio files were exported to MPEG Audio Layer III (MP3) with 44.100 kHz, 128 kbps, using Steinberg Nuendo 4 in order to achieve optimal sound quality while keeping file sizes low for smooth data loading, as the sounds were delivered via a web platform (Limesurvey version 1.87). All sound samples used in this test were edited and normalized to achieve uniformity in loudness and were presented at 60 dB sound pressure level to the listeners through headphones (Audio Technica ATH-M40FS).


      To calibrate the scoring to the confidence ratings, a correct response chosen with maximum confidence (“definitely same” or “definitely different”) was awarded 1 point; a correct response chosen with less confidence (“probably same” or “probably different”) was awarded 0.5 points. Incorrect responses (both probably and definitely) and the choice of “I don't know” were awarded 0 points. After the raw score was calculated, the score was transformed to d’ by using the standard d’ model (z(H)–z(F)) [58]. A general interpretative framework for d’ scores is that d’ = 0 denotes no discrimination ability and d’ = 1 denotes 69% correct for both same and different trials; although there is no upper limit, in general, d’ values tend to peak around 2 [59]. By this measure, test difficulty was appropriate for the subtests of Group 2 (mean d’ = 0.81; SD = 0.58), but somewhat high for the subtests of Group 1 (mean d’ = 0.35; SD = 0.65).

      With regards to internal consistency, Cronbach's α for the composite score was.85 across the subtests of Group 1 and.87 across those of Group 2. Subtest coefficients ranged from a low of.48 (melody) to a high of.78 (tempo). To examine test-retest reliability, we first invited a subsample of 24 participants from Group 1 to take the test 1 week later. We used the single measure intra-class correlation with a two-way random effect model (absolute agreement definition). Test-retest was encouraging, ICC (22) = .82, p<.01 (Pearson's r = .82, Spearman's rho = .76; p<.01), prompting us to retest all 39 subjects from Group 2: ICC (37) = .82, p<.01 (Pearson r = .84, rho = .80; p<.01). For the individual subtests, retest coefficients ranged from a low of ICC = .56 (melody) to a high of ICC = .81 (timbre), both p’s<.01.

      Test scores were also significantly related to musicianship status as defined above. In Group 1, the point biserial correlation between being a musician versus being a nonmusician (coded 1 vs 0) and the test scores was rpb (37) = .39 (p<.05); in Group 2, it was rpb (37) = .47 (p<.01). These coefficients provide initial evidence for the test's validity, especially considering that both correlations relate to only one part of the battery.

      Study 2: Validation of the PROMS

      This study was undertaken to examine improvements in the psychometric properties resulting from some revisions to the trials and to examine the test's validity in more detail. In the case of a test of musical abilities, validation is particularly complex and daunting because of the lack of a gold standard test against which a new test may be measured. Our goal in this study was limited to an investigation of criterion validity with external indicators of musical proficiency, and of convergent validity with relevant tasks from previous tests. Because of the relatively extensive work supporting the validity of Gordon's Advanced Measures of Music Audiation (AMMA) and Musical Aptitude Profile (MAP) [60,61], we used these batteries for a validation of the current melody, rhythm-to-melody, and tempo test as specified below. Because Gordon's AMMA rhythm perception task is embedded in a melodic context, we used the rhythm subtest of the MET to validate the standard rhythm subtest.

      Unfortunately, there are no established tests to validate the tuning and timbre subtests. Thus, we examined content rather than convergent validity. To this end, we compiled timbre trials of a different nature (monophonic rather than polyphonic) and compared performance on the timbre subtest with performance on this newly created set of timbre stimuli. In addition, no established music tests could have been used to validate our accent, tuning, pitch, and loudness subtests. The PROMS accent subtest, however, is similar to the MET's rhythm test, which uses percussive sound. It is therefore reasonable to also expect a positive correlation between the accent subtest and the MET's rhythm test.

      Materials and Methods

      Participants were 56 listeners (15 males; 41 females) aged 18 to 38 years (mean = 22, SD = 4.6). They were students and staff from the university who participated in exchange for either course credit or a cash reward. Seventeen students were music students, and another five students from other departments described themselves as semiprofessional musicians. Twenty listeners agreed to come back to a retest session 1 week later.


      The number of trials and subtests was the same as in Study 1. The stimulus material was slightly revised on the basis of (a) imbalances in subtest difficulty, and (b) a psychometric analysis of poorly performing trials identified in Study 1. Specifically, subtests that were comparatively too difficult or too easy were revised by replacing some of the most difficult (or easy) trials with trials of a more moderate level of difficulty. Furthermore, trials with unsatisfactory item-to-total correlations in each subtest were revised or replaced with new trials. This led to a revision in 23 out of the 162 trials (14.2%).

      In addition, we assessed the listeners' musical background with questions regarding their music qualifications (coded: Grade/ Level 1–5 [= 1]; Grade/Level 6–8 [= 2]; bachelor degree [= 3]; masters degree [= 4]; PhD degree [= 5]) and level of musicianship (coded: nonmusician [= 1]; music-loving nonmusician [= 2]; amateur musician [= 3]; semiprofessional musician [= 4]; professional musician [= 5]). We also asked about years of musical training and involvement in critical listening activities (e.g., sound engineering, professional performance). We created a composite index of these variables (α = .83). Composites provide more reliable estimates compared with their individual components, thus protecting against Type II error (e.g., [62]).


      There were three experimental sessions. In one session, listeners completed the current test battery. In a second session, they completed the validation tests. A subgroup of 20 listeners participated in a third session as a means for obtaining new test-retest data. The validation sessions had four external tests, namely, AMMA, MAP, MET, and timbre (monophonic). During this session, we also examined the listeners' hearing ability by using the “air conduction pure tone audiometry procedure without masking” [63]. Prior to the music-listening part, listeners were asked to fill in the music background questionnaire.

      Descriptive Statistics

      Because there are 18 trials in each subtest, the maximum score listeners can obtain is 18/18, the minimum 0/18. The level of chance performance with the current scoring system is 6.75 (if “I don't know” is included as a response option, the level of chance is 5.4). After the raw score was calculated, the score was transformed to d’ by using the standard d’ model (z(H)-z(F)) [58,59]. Table 3 shows descriptive statistics for the entire sample and, in parentheses, for the sample after removal of listeners that described themselves as either professional or semiprofessional musicians. It is of note that the group difference between the latter and nonmusicians on the pitch task was among those that did not reach significance, t(54) = 1.35, p = .18 (the others were loudness, tempo, and timbre; all p‘s >0.10). This finding somewhat tempers the concern that the choice of 440 Hz as pivot for the pitch task might have conferred a major advantage to musicians (see Study 1, Materials).

      Table 3. Descriptive summaries for PROMS subtests and composite score.


      We provide, as estimates of internal consistency, Cronbach's α and McDonald's ω. Omega is provided in addition to alpha because the latter is an insensitive estimate of internal consistency, notably in ability tests, where homogeneity in item content is sided with heterogeneity in item difficulty [64,65]. As in Study 1, test-retest reliability was computed from the intraclass correlation coefficient, and based on the subsample of participants that took the test 1 week alter. Test-retest reliability for the PROMS total score was ICC (18) = .88, p<.01 (Pearson's r= .90, Spearman's rho = .88; both p's<.01). Retest values for the individual subtests are provided in the right-hand column of Table 4. Figure 8 plots the total PROMS scores of T1 against those of T2.

      Table 4. Cronbach's alpha, McDonald's omega, and test-retest coefficient for subtests and composite score.

      Figure 8. Scattergram plotting total PROMS scores at Time 1 against Time 2. Units are d prime values (d’). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g008

      Convergent Validity

      Overall, the listeners' performances on the current subtests were substantially intercorrelated with the tests selected for validation. Table 5 shows the validity intercorrelation matrix. In many cases, the subtests were also distinctively linked to the corresponding validation tests. Thus, the rhythm test taken from the MET correlated most strongly with both of our rhythm subtests (rhythm and rhythm-to-melody) and, not surprisingly, also showed moderate correlation with the accent subtest. Although the highest correlation of the AMMA melody was indeed with our melody subtest, it also correlated rather strongly with other test components. This could be due to the AMMA tonal test measuring more than just melodic skills, to the melodic perception skills reflecting a confluence of various musical skills, or to a combination of both.

      Table 5. Validity correlation between AMMA, MET, MAP, and timbre (mono) with the PROMS.

      Although our tempo task was significantly correlated with the MAP tempo task, it correlated even more strongly with other test components. A likely explanation for this pattern is that the MAP tempo test heavily taxes tonal memory. It not only uses melodic sequences, but also requires listeners to judge whether the tempo of the ending of the melodies is the same or different compared with the ending of the standard stimulus. As such, the MAP tempo test maybe a better measure of tonal memory than of tempo skills per se. To substantiate this explanation, we correlated the MAP tempo score with a composite score of subtests that tax memory due to their sequential nature (melody, rhythm-to-melody, standard rhythm and accent) and with a composite score of nonsequential subtests that make lesser demands on individuals' short-term memory (tuning, pitch, loudness and timbre). As expected, the former correlation was substantially higher (r= .59, p<.01) compared to the latter (r = .29, p = .03).

      Criterion Validity

      We found significant correlations between the total PROMS score with self-reported years of musical training, involvement in critical listening activities, music degrees and qualifications, and musicianship status of, respectively, r(54) = .37, r(54) = .45, r(54) = .41, and r(54) = .63 (all p's <.01). The correlation with the composite score across the four dimensions was r(54) = .57, p<.01. This sizeable relationship between PROMS scores and indicators of external musical proficiency supports the test's criterion validity. It is also consistent with our notion of musical sleepers and sleeping musicians, with several musically untrained participants performing well and some of the trained participants not as well (Figure 9).

      Figure 9. Scattergram plotting PROMS performance against an aggregate index of musical training. Training includes years of musical training, music degrees and qualifications, critical listening activities, and musicianship status (main text). Extent of training predicts PROMS performance substantially but imperfectly (r= .57, p<. 01). Upper lea corner: Example of a “musical sleeper” performing well despite minimal musical training. Lower right corner: Example of a “sleeping musician” posting a lesser performance despite extensive musical training. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052508.g009

      Study 3: Discriminant Validity and Test Structure

      In a final study, we investigated the discriminant validity of the test battery and examined the subtest intercorrelations and factor structure underlying the nine subtests. To examine discriminant validity, we used the gap detection task with white noise. This task was chosen because it does not have a strong pitch element and it is also an established test to measure individual differences in auditory abilities [66]. Gap detection tasks were also frequently used in investigating the development of speech perception in children [67–69] and in hearing-impaired patients [70,71] and have also been used to assess auditory temporal acuity and resolution (the ability to detect an auditory signal of brief duration presented at rapid rates) [68,72,73].

      Materials and Methods

      Forty listeners (13 males; 27 females) aged 18 to 32 years (mean = 21, SD = 3.1) participated in Study 3. They were students and staff from the university who participated in exchange for either course credit or a cash reward. None of the students were music students, although six described themselves as either professional or semiprofessional musicians.


      The PROMS stimuli were identical to those of Study 2. We used the gap detection task as specified by Zeng and colleagues [74], who used an adaptive two-down and one-up procedure, yielding a 70.7% performance level [75]. Eleven independent 750-ms digital samples of white noise contained gaps of silence of 10 different durations at their temporal center. The gap durations ranged from 0.5 to 256 ms, in log steps, whereas the total durations remained constant. An adaptive three-alternative forced-choice procedure, with visual feedback regarding the correct response, was used to determine the gap detection thresholds. The interstimulus interval was 1,250 ms and the order of the signal and standard sounds was randomized. The test started with a medium-large signal at 32 ms to facilitate listeners' understanding of the test. The level increased (or the difference was reduced) after two consecutive correct responses, and the level decreased after one incorrect response (two-down, one-up). If the listener made an incorrect response from two or more consecutive correct responses or vice versa, a reversal was recorded. Each run was terminated after 12 reversals or after a maximum of 70 trials. The average score from the last eight reversals was used to determine the gap detection threshold.


      The testing procedure was the same as in the previous studies, followed by the gap detection task. The order of the sessions was counterbalanced, where half of the listeners did the PROMS first and the gap detection task second, and the other half did them in reverse order. This session lasted about 1.5 h, with a 5- to 10-min break in the middle.

      Descriptive Statistics

      Gap detection scores ranged from a minimum of 1.70 ms to a maximum of 5.80 ms (M = 2.87 ms; SD = .77). Descriptive statistics and psychometric properties for the PROMS were similar to those in Study 2 (Table S1). The PROMS scores were slightly lower compared to Study 2, probably a reflection of the smaller proportion of musically trained participants in Study 3 compared to those of Study 2. This probably also brought about the slight attenuation of the correlation between the test scores and the composite music education index, r = .38 (p<.05).

      Correlations Between Gap Detection Task and the PROMS

      Table 6 shows correlations between the gap detection task and the PROMS subtest and total scores. The lower listeners' gap detection scores (indexed by the smaller gaps that listeners are able to detect), the better their auditory discrimination skills. Thus, a negative correlation between PROMS and gap detection scores would indicate that those who performed well on the PROMS also tended to perform well on the gap detection task. However, none of the correlations reached significance, providing support to the PROMs' discriminant validity.

      Table 6. Correlations between the PROMS and the gap detection task.

      Factorial Structure of Test Components

      Subtest intercorrelations and factorial analyses were conducted on participants from the current and the previous study combined (N = 96). Overall, the correlations among subtests were substantial (Table 7). In analogy to Spearman's g, these findings point to the presence of a generic “musicality” or m factor. To examine the factorial structure underlying the patterns of correlations, we ran a factor analysis with varimax rotation on the subtest scores. Two factors met the Kaiser criterion (eigenvalues >1) and were also clearly suggested by the scree plot. Melody, accent, and rhythm subtest scores were found to load highly on Factor 1. Loudness, pitch, tuning, timbre, and tempo subtest scores all loaded on Factor 2 (Table 8). From this pattern, we decided to label Factor 1 “sequential processing” and Factor 2 “sensory processing.” Of note is that the loudness subtest was only loosely connected to the other subtests. It had no cross loading on the first factor (Table 8), and comparatively modest correlations with the other subtests (Table 7).

      Table 7. Intercorrelations of all PROMS subtest scores including the composite score.

      Table 8. Factor analysis of the PROMS.

      Brief PROMS

      Despite our efforts at keeping the test short, the full battery takes about an hour to complete. This practical disadvantage can limit its use. Thus, a brief version of the PROMS, consisting of two sensory subtests (tuning and tempo) and two sequential subtests (melody and accent), was examined on the basis of samples from the current and the previous study combined (N=96). This choice of subtests for the brief version was based on three considerations: First, the subtests have high loadings on their respective factors. Second, timing and pitch-related subtests are balanced with melody and tuning representing pitch tasks and with tempo and accent timing tasks. We chose the accent rather than one of the other rhythm tests because it is the more challenging of the three (see Table 3), presumably taxes grouping skills to a greater extent than do the other rhythm tests, and has an affinity with the concept of “stress” in speech, thereby lending itself to studies that compare music and speech perception. Finally, these subtests do not require the absolute silence necessary to discern subtle variations in timbre, pitch, or loudness, thereby making them more suitable to be administered online.

      The brief version correlated very highly with the full version, r(94) = .95, p<.01. However, this may not be surprising, because the four brief PROMS subtests correlated with themselves in the full PROMS. We therefore examined how much variance the brief version could explain in the five subtests that were not included. To this end, we created a composite score based on excluded subtests (loudness, pitch, timbre, and the two rhythm subtests) and found that an impressive 67% of the variance in the latter could be explained by the brief PROMS. The brief version also exhibited satisfactory internal consistency (α = .84; ω = .85). Test-retest reliability, computed on the retest subsample of Study 2, was also acceptable (ICC= .82, r= .84; rho = .84; all p's<.01). The association of the brief PROMS with the musical proficiency composite was r(94) = .58, p<.01, similar to the r = .57 found for the correlation between the full PROMS and musical proficiency (see also Tables S1 and S2). Although these results warrant confirmation in future studies, they attest to the promise of the brief version as a time-efficient alternative to the full version.


      The Profile of Music Perception Skills was developed to provide researchers with an instrument to assess the level of listeners' perceptual musicality objectively. In contrast to most other musical test batteries, which were designed for special populations (e.g., children, amusics, or adults with hearing or musical impairments), the PROMS is a test for the normal adult population. A second distinctive feature of the current battery is its multidimensionality, brought about by the inclusion of crucial, yet previously neglected, aspects of music perception such as timbre, tuning, tempo, or accent. Third, standards of test construction and validation were comparatively high. Thus, stimuli were studiously selected, balanced, and revised, and the psychometric information provided is extensive. Specifically, both internal consistency and test-retest reliability were excellent for the composite score in the three samples of Studies 1 and 2 (no retest was taken in Study 3). The reliability coefficients for the individual subtests were less impressive, but nonetheless respectable given their relatively small number of trials. Fourth, we demonstrated convergent validity with existing musical ability tests, criterion validity with external indicators of musical proficiency and discriminant validity against a purely psychoacoustic, nonmusical test. Fifth, results that could be compared across the various samples replicated well. Thus, criterion validity correlations with indicators of musical proficiency were consistently significant and sizeable across the four samples; test-retest coefficients were consistently high across the three retest-samples; and means and standard deviations were similar in Studies 2, 3 and in an ongoing Internet study (Tables S1, S2, S3).

      Uses of the Battery

      The current instrument has several potential uses. First, it should help to attenuate errors of categorization that result from relying on the self-reported extent of musical training only. For instance, several participants in our study scored far better (or worse) on the test than was to be expected from their extent of musical training. This finding is consistent with the distinction of musical sleepers and sleeping musicians, that is, musically untrained but capable individuals, and, vice versa, highly trained individuals of limited musical ability. It is easy to see how routinely allocating musically skilled and unskilled nonmusicians to one single group of nonmusicians–all presumably lacking in musical skill–can lead to distorted estimates and interpretations of the effects of musical ability on any outcome, be it language processing, autism spectrum disorder, or brain anatomy. The current battery should be helpful in improving the sensitivity of musical ability assessments, especially when used in combination with musical training indicators.

      Thus, when a high PROMS score is sided with advanced musical qualifications, one might infer musical proficiency with maximum confidence. Such confidence is lessened when the same qualifications are paired with a modest PROMS performance. Musically untrained individuals who score high on the PROMS, in turn, might represent a special group of musically gifted individuals, who may exhibit a very different response pattern in outcome measures compared to untrained individuals with low PROMS scores. Of course, this is only a suggestion of how multiple measures of musical capacity may be best combined for assessment purposes, and its merits must be examined in future research.

      Second, categorization based on musicianship usually only allows linking an outcome to musical ability or expertise generically, but not to any specific musical skill. With the current battery, the user is able to obtain information on specific musical perception skills. Thus, any link between musical ability and a nonmusical ability–be it language processing, working memory, or vocal emotion recognition–can be understood in more detail than is currently possible. Isolating the specific musical components that underlie the relationship between musical ability and other abilities or disorders is not only important for understanding the latter, but it may also play a role in devising effective treatment plans.

      Third, the PROMS may have some uses in special populations. For example, hearing aids enhance speech perception, but do little to improve the quality of music perception in hearing-impaired populations. Just why the corrective devices do so little to restore music perception is far from clear (e.g., [76]). Comparing population norms of normally hearing adults to the performance of populations with hearing impairments on standardized batteries such as the PROMS could help to particularize the type and extent of their musical deficits.

      Finally, the PROMS may be useful as a tool for researching the nature of music perception itself. Music is conventionally partitioned into distinct features such as rhythm, meter, tempo, melody, harmony, timbre, and so on, but little is known about the structure of the perception of these various musical features. Although this issue can be addressed through experiments [77], the factorial analysis of interrelationships in distinct perceptual skills represents an important complementary strategy to experimentation. For example, one might have expected tonal and temporal processing to emerge as basic factors in music perception [78]. Yet, the current work found that interrelationships among the various subtests could be best accounted for by sequential and sensory music processing modules. It is noteworthy that both timbre and tuning trials have a component of concurrent sound segregation that is enhanced in musicians [79]. Thus, the current factor structure, more than reflecting temporal and pitch processing modules, seems more suggestive of the distinction between sequential and concurrent processing germane to work in auditory neuroscience (e.g., [80]).

      Limitations and Future Directions

      Though a major step forward relative to earlier batteries, the PROMS is not a perfect or exhaustive test of musical ability. First, individual differences in the perception of higher order musical qualities such as phrasing, balance, and musical expression are not measured with the present battery, nor are musical production skills. The main reason for leaving out production tasks is that, with the possible exception of some basic motor skills such as tapping or simple finger sequencing, production tasks would confer an advantage to those with experience in handling a musical instrument, including the human voice. As such, they are likely to measure the extent of such practice rather than aptitude for musical performance. However, the current battery can be used to examine whether perceptual skills and production or performance skills are related, a question that has received little attention to date.

      Second, although comparatively ample evidence for the battery's convergent, discriminant, and criterion validity was obtained in the current studies, the validation of any test battery is a continuous process requiring studies of a different kind. As long as a gold standard test for musical aptitude does not exist, the focus of future studies ought to be on predictive and criterion validity rather than on convergent validity. For example, professional groups with known skills in a given music domain (tuning and timbre sensitivity in piano tuners, rhythmic abilities in percussionists) should perform particularly well on those subtests that relate to their musical expertise. Musical novices' scores on the test, taken before they start musical instruction, should be moderately predictive of the ease with which the students acquire skills in understanding and/or producing music over time. Such information will be valuable, but will take years to collect.

      Third, a rigorous examination of the battery required repeated and lengthy testing sessions that limited the number of people that could be tested. However, because several findings replicated across the samples and studies, they are unlikely to include distorted estimates or false positives. Even so, the results warrant confirmation in further studies, and collection of data from larger and more diverse samples is an important next step to take. The short version of the PROMS introduced in Study 3 should be helpful in the gathering of data from large and diverse samples. These data will help to address questions related to the distribution of musical skills in the general population, for example, whether distributions vary according to parameters such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status, or to the presence of strong musical institutions.

      In conclusion, the absence of work on musical ability test batteries stretching over 30 years presents a hurdle to progress in the research on the neural and psychological foundations of the musical mind, including work on its relation to nonmusical processes such as language processing, emotion recognition, or motor coordination. It is hoped that the current battery can facilitate this work.


      Order of authorship was determined alphabetically. Michael Cheung helped with the programming of the Gap Detection Task. Tuomas Eerola kindly provided the validation sounds for the timbre subtest.

      Supporting Information

      Table S1 Overview of key results of the PROMS across studies.


      Table S2 Overview of key results of the Brief PROMS across studies.


      Table S3 Preliminary data from an ongoing Internet Study.


      Author Contributions

      Conceived and designed the experiments: MZ LL. Performed the experiments: LL. Analyzed the data: MZ LL. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: LL. Wrote the paper: MZ.

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      VOLUME 1 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: 163; Flickr: 5 (Adrian Furby), 19 (Abel Bourbois), 28 (Buzz Anderson), 33 (Christiaan Triebert), 40 (Tracy Hunter), 49, 61 (Woodley Wonder Works), 70 (Martin Terber), 75 (Eva Rinaldi), 84 (Danilo Perez), 93 (© Garry Knight), 98 (Kate Patten), 110 (Michael Clesle), 120 (Phil Roeder), 132 (© Festival of Faiths), 143 (Steve Jurvetson), 158, 170 (Helgi Halldórsson), 183 (Ugur Onder Bozkurt), 190, 197 (Philippe Teuwen), 205 (Ed Yourdon), 218 (Trinidad Sky), 236 (Ottavi Alain), 261 (© Andrea Wilson), 285 (Ralf Shulze), 288 (Taco Meeuwsen), 302 (Tim Notari), 312, 342, 349 (Emile Labrador), 358 (Tigrilla yvette Soler), 368, 375 (©Ben Alman), 384 (Sara Lafleur-Vetter), 389 (Robert Bejil), 398 (Martin Terber), 412, 419 (Claudio Gennari), 426, 439 (Fire At Will Photography), 448 (John Nakamura Remy), 462 and 579 (Tulane University Public Relations), 505 (Jorge Mejia Peralta), 519 (Cássio Abreu), 530 (Roger Wood), 537 (Marcus Melendez), 549, 568 (Aleksandr Zykov), 597 (Andy Newcombe), 606 (Kris Krug), 615 (Daniel Lobo), 621 (Woodley Wonder Works), 628 (Lars Plougmann); German Federal Archives: 455; Library of Congress: 246, 295, 499; MGM Records: 272; MP3 Music Agency: 225; National Council for Voluntary Organisations (London): 328; Share Conference: 265; U.S. Army: 12, 307, 542; U.S. Department of Defense: 471; U.S. Navy: 127; Wikimedia Commons: 152 (Csaba Segesvári), 240 (© See-ming Lee), 321 (Derek Bridges), 335, 430, 487, 508, 553.

      VOLUME 2 ACE Foundation: 1136; Flickr: 651, 658 (Juan Camilo Trujillo), 670 (Tulane University Public Relations), 675 (Brent Ramsey), 681 (Jaitra Gillespie), 689 (Live, 696 (Mark Scott), 715 (Yohann Legrand), 735 (Brian Marks), 744 (Rachel Docherty), 755 (left and right), 758 (Ted Van Pelt), 777 (John Ramspott), 796 (© Jiuguang Wang), 800 (© David Dennis Photos), 824 (Peter and Lisa Cohen), 836 (Daniela Vladimirova), 850 (Charlie Nguyen), 874 (Filip Put), 933 (Thomas Bonte), 951 (Quinn Dombrowski), 967, 973 (Gustavo Durán), 983 (Dave Parker), 990 (Yahoo), 1001 (Mike Miley), 1013 (Janus Bahs Jacquet), 1018 (left and right U.S. Embassy, Tel Aviv), 1025 (Josué Goge), 1040 (© Justin Higuchi), 1049, 1061 (James Willamor), 1066 (VDRG Dansschool), 1069 (© Thomas Szynkiewicz), 1076 (Strassenmusik Festival), 1083, 1088 (Nazareth College), 1098, 1107 (Dan Perlman), 1119 (Ralph Daily), 1030 (UK Department for International Development), 1144 (Rodrigo Della Fávera), 1162 (Sebastian Müller), 1169 (Alina Sofia), 1180 (Boston Public Library), 1188 (Humpback Whale Sanctuary/Ed Lyman), 1200 (Ralf Schulze), 1206 (JaeHun Lee); Library of Congress: 644, 816, 866, 926, 1157; U.S. Army: 976, 1141; U.S. Marine Corps: 764; U.S. Navy: 958; Wikimedia Commons: 728, 784 (Popular Mechanics), 811, 845, 859, 881 (Derzsi Elekes Andor), 900, 911 (Paul C. Babin), 940, 1150, 1160 (David Stanley), 1195 (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

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