Oxford Bibliographies: Music and Cognition
Music and cognition refers to the study of musical thinking. In basic terms, it seeks to understand the mental processes involved in listening to, creating, and performing music. Musical thinking is, however, a vast, complex issue that also implicates memory, emotion, language, culture, and the thinking body. To address such a highly interdisciplinary topic, articles in this entry draw mainly from music psychology, cognitive science, ethnomusicology, and music theory, complemented by work in related fields. Though publications in music psychology and neuroscience of music greatly outnumber contributions from the humanities, it is the intention of this article to present a balance of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Moreover, while scholarly methods, goals, and discourse often differ radically from one discipline to the next, there has been an increasing interest in cross-disciplinary dialogue in music and cognition research. Grouping scholarship by theme in this bibliography, as opposed to disciplinary approach, echoes that same intent. A bibliographic suite of sections follows this introduction, covering General Overviews, Reference Works, Review Articles, Journals, and popular works for a General Audience. The remaining sections take up a number of prominent research themes within music and cognition. Given music’s cognitive and social intricacies, rarely do scholars consider any single theme or aspect of music in total isolation. Instead, music-and-cognition research and theory often delights in productive pairings, such as emotion and perception, experience and meaning, movement and metaphor, and so on. Therefore, a recommended strategy in navigating this site is first to proceed to the desired headings, then conduct a keyword search, as topics will often appear under various headings. While not all themes find resonance across multiple disciplines, many do, indicating current or potentially new avenues for interdisciplinary investigation.