Findings in Music Cognition

April 25, 2012 / By: Mark H. Bussey

A growing body of research suggests that music is a specifically human, rather than natural phenomenon. Increasing access to brain imaging technology along with other recent advances in neuromusical research methods has fostered significant growth in the understanding of the cognitive and neurobiological foundations of music listening and performance. Rhythm and pitch are reviewed as core perceptual elements of music. The author then explores cognitive processes that integrate these elements into larger units of musical content and meaning. Studies of the differences in perception between musicians and non-musicians suggest the ways that musical training impacts musical perception. Finally, this evolving body of knowledge about how humans perceive music suggests insights that can enhance the teaching and learning of music.