Forget everything you have heard about humans only using 10% of their brains. Nonsense. Drivel. Rubbish. Bullocks. Several other impolite words I would like to use but probably should not. Many, many studies have shown that music and language activate almost the entire brain, and because of this activation, many magical things can occur. Today, instead of a long-form post, I am going to share several short stories about how music is love, and love is music.
(I have source links in every title, so if you want to read more in-depth about what I have written about, go ahead and click)
Considering that the field of music cognition has only started offering Masters degrees in the past ten years or so, it is a safe assumption that not many people know a whole lot about it. Those that do encounter the term in passing may simply scratch their heads and, if someone does not help enlighten them, will simply brush it off as us silly humanities people trying to be scientific. My goal is to have you, my awesome readers, walk/click away from here with a better understanding of the field of music cognition. Rest assured, this is pure, rigorous science backed by neuroscientists, psychologists, and musicians all at once. There’s nothing touchy-feely about this research…minus the music as healing part. More on that later, of course.
Oh yes, I ought to mention that I wish to contribute research to the music psychology/cognition sub-field during my career, so that is why I’m talking about this highly fascinating subject (to me, anyways, and hopefully to you as well). I’m writing this with as little citations as needed and am drawing from my own personal knowledge and understanding. At the end, I have included links of interest related to music cognition.
So first, on to the fundamental question: what is music cognition? The term “music cognition” is an overarching term that actually covers three subdivisions: computational models of music, music psychology/cognition, and music theory. Like all fields of study with subdivisions, there is some overlap here and there in the fields. Having taken courses in all of these, I can say a few things about these subdivisions.