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Music Cognition and Perception

  • By: Daniel J. Levitin & Anna K. Tirovolas
  • In: Encyclopedia of Perception
  • Edited by: E. Bruce Goldstein
  • Subject:Sensation & Perception

Music cognition and perception is the scientific study of those mental and neural operations underlying music listening, music making, dancing (moving to music), and composing. It is intrinsically interdisciplinary, drawing on methods from cognitive and sensory psychology, neuroscience, musicology, computer science, music theory, and sociocultural aspects of music, with genetics and evolutionary biology becoming increasingly relevant. Music processing is a complex, higher cognitive activity engaging many areas of the brain and employing many distinct cognitive operations. As such, music has revealed itself to be a useful window into understanding functions of the mind and brain and informing large issues in cognitive psychology such as memory, attention, perceptual organization, categorization, and emotion. This entry describes the building blocks of music; musical structure, grammar, syntax, and semantics; ...

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