1st Edition

Music and Science A Guide to Empirical Research

By Tuomas Eerola Copyright 2025
    280 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    280 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Music and Science provides an introduction and practical guidance for a scientific and systematic approach to music research. Students with a background in Humanities may find the field hard to tackle and this accessible guide will show them how to consider using an appropriate range of methods, and to introduce them to current standards of research practices including research ethics, open access, and using computational tools such as R for analysis. These research methods are used to identify the underlying patterns behind the data to better understand how music is constructed and how we are influenced by music. The book focusses on music perception and the experience of music that are approached through empirical experiments, and by analysing music that is carried out by computational tools spanning audio and score materials. The process of research, collaboration and publishing in this area of study is also explained and emphasis is given to transparent and replicable research principles. The book will be essential reading for students undertaking empirical projects, particularly in the area of music psychology but also in digital humanities and media studies.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables



    Series Editor Preface

    1 Introduction

    2 History

    2.1 Prehistory

    2.2 19th Century Foundations

    2.3 Early 20th Century

    2.4 Late 20th century

    3 Contemporary Empirical Music Research

    3.1 Scientific vs Humanistic Musicology

    3.2 Scientific Musicology as a Subset of Empirical Music Research

    3.3 Core Values of Empirical Music Research

    3.4 Institutional Position of Empirical Music Research

    4 Methods in Empirical Music Research

    4.1 Research Process 

    4.2 Research Conduct and Ethics 

    4.3 Research Transparency 

    4.4 Research Designs

    5 Sources of Information in Empirical Music Research

    5.1 Music 

    5.2 Observations and Interviews 

    5.3 Self-reports

    5.4 Behavioural Measures 

    5.5 Physiological Measures

    5.6 Research Contexts

    5.7 Samples and Participants

    6 Data Diagnostics and Summaries

    6.1 Transparent Analysis Tools 

    6.2 Organisation of the Analysis Workflow 

    6.3 Pre-processing and Quality Control 

    6.4 Post-processing and Open Data 

    6.5 Tools for Data Analysis 

    6.6 Diagnostic Visualisations and Descriptives

    6.7 Qualitative Analysis

    7 Statistical Analysis

    7.1 Inferential Statistics 

    7.2 Group Comparisons 

    7.3 Relationships Between Continuous Variables

    7.4 Modelling

    8 Reporting and Craftsmanship

    8.1 Reporting Structures 

    8.2 Reporting Conventions 

    8.3 Publishing Research 

    8.4 Authorship 

    8.5 Peer Review 

    8.6 Craftsmanship

    9 Analysis of Scores and Performances

    9.1 Analysis of Scores

    9.2 Analysis of Performances

    10 Analysis of Audio

    10.1 Audio Analysis Basics

    10.2 Physical Descriptors

    10.3 Perceptual Descriptors

    10.4 Semantic Descriptors

    11 Corpus Studies

    11.1 Corpus Elements

    11.2 Example Corpora

    11.3 Corpus Studies Workflow

    12 Summary and Future Directions

    12.1 Focus on Musical Processes

    12.2 Increase Diversity

    12.3 Challenges and Opportunities

    12.3 Applications

    12.4 Future Prospects




    Tuomas Eerola is Professor of Music Cognition in the Department of Music, University of Durham

     “Empirical music research has quite a history, and it is a joy to see its history, accumulative knowledge and current tools assembled in one concise publication. The author is a true expert and an inspiring teacher, providing students with all the knowledge and tools they need to contribute to this exciting field, where there is still a lot to explore.”
    Henkjan Honing, Professor of Music Cognition, University of Amsterdam; author of Music Cognition: The Basics (Routledge, 2022)

    Eerola’s Music and Science: Guide to Empirical Music Research offers an up-to-date and clearly organized introduction to the field. Balancing theoretical and practical approaches, it serves as an invaluable resource for any student or researcher getting started with empirical work on music."
    Elizabeth Margulis, Professor, Director, Music Cognition Lab, Princeton University