Dr. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis
Professor and Director of the Music Cognition Lab,
University of Arkansas
"Using Science to Think About Music"
In recent decades, empirical approaches have begun to work their way into the methodological toolkit applied to the study of music. They have not always worked productively alongside more traditional humanistic modes of understanding. This presentation argues that with sufficiently thoughtful exchange, scientific and humanistic approaches can illuminate human musical practices in ways neither could alone. In particular, since listening experiences often resist verbal explanation, psychology's ability to uncover cognitive processes without relying on explicit report makes it especially well-suited for studying musical listening. Examples drawn from work on repetition, perceptions of musicality, and narrative readings of music illuminate the danger and the potential at the intersection of science and the humanities.