1st Edition

Music Cognition: The Basics

By Henkjan Honing Copyright 2022
    182 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    182 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Why do people attach importance to the wordless language we call music? Music Cognition: The Basics considers the role of our cognitive functions, such as perception, memory, attention, and expectation in perceiving, making, and appreciating music.

    In this volume, Henkjan Honing explores the active role these functions play in how music makes us feel; exhilarated, soothed, or inspired. Grounded in the latest research in areas of psychology, biology, and cognitive neuroscience, and with clear examples throughout, this book concentrates on underappreciated musical skills such as sense of rhythm, beat induction, and relative pitch, that make people intrinsically musical creatures—supporting the conviction that all humans have a unique, instinctive attraction to music.

    The scope of the topics discussed ranges from the ability of newborns to perceive a beat, to the unexpected musical expertise of ordinary listeners. It is a must read for anyone studying the psychology of music, auditory perception, or simply interested in why we enjoy music the way we do.


    Part 1: De do do do, de da da da | The tone of speech and music 1. First Listening Experiences 2. The Illiterate Listener Part 2: Ooh-ooh-ooh | The Magic of Music 3. Music as Mystery 4. Music as Language 5. Music as Sound Part 3: Hmmm . . . | Music and Musicality 6. We’re Musical Creatures 7. Measuring the Beat 8. Do You Recognize this Melody? Part 4: Tá-ta-ta-tá-ta | Music as Cognition 9. The Secret of the "Loud Rest" 10. The Secret of the Details 11. The Secret, Mapped Out Part 5: Aha! | Music in Our Minds 12. The Musical Listener 13. Listening and Learning 14. Encore


    Henkjan Honing is professor of Music Cognition at both the faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam and member elect of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    "Insights from one of the leading researchers working at the intersection of music, psychology, and computer science."

    Dan Levitin, author of This is your brain on music

    "A graceful and precise introduction into the intricacy of what ordinary humans manage to learn about music, naturally and automatically, just by listening."

    Gary Marcus, author of Guitar Zero

    "Honing demonstrates that ordinary listeners, whether children or adults, are a lot more musically savvy than they think they are."

    Sandra Trehub, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto