2018-2019 Catalog

COGS 241 Cognition of Music and Sound

As part of human cognition, our perception, production, and understanding of music has elicited many questions: what is music in relation to "sound"? Is music an evolutionary adaptation? What is the relationship of music and emotions or memory? Can music influence perception in other modalities? What is the meaning of music? Can music make us smarter? Is music a language? What is biological and what is cultural in the esthetics of music? This course will reframe many of these questions from the interdisciplinary standpoint of cognitive science, acoustics, music theory, and semiotics, to explore music as a cognitive process. Topics will include: the perception of pitch, timbre, rhythm, and localization; music and the brain; the cognitive aspect of the esthetics of music; the relationship between music and language in terms of their structures and neurological processing; music and memory; music and emotions; and music and meaning. We will also discuss the role music plays in cross-modal interactions, either in the real world or in films and multimedia art works.


4 units

Cross Listed Courses

MUSC 241


Any Cognitive Science or Music class; or permission of instructor

Core Requirements Met

  • Mathematics/Science
  • Fine Arts