York Music Psychology Group

Research to explain and understand musical behaviour and experience.

The York Music Psychology Group (YMPG) aims to explain and understand musical behaviour and experience, including the production, processing, and reception of music. In addition to creating this knowledge, we also apply it to music practice and the development of music technology.


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This week in the YMPG colloquium we have the philosopher, come psychologist-in-his-spare-time, discussing his interesting cross-cultural study. He describes it below:

'Lost in Musical Translation: A cross-cultural study of musical grammar and its relation to affective expression in two musical idioms between Europe and South India.

Can music be considered a language of the emotions? A common view is that this is nothing but a Romantic cliché. In this presentation, I show why this common view is unwarranted. To do so, I introduce the "musicalanguage hypothesis”, a framework that aims to explain the communicative power of music using what we already know about linguistic communication. In particular, I outline several working hypotheses about musical grammar and musical meaning to defend that music is indeed very close to literally be a language of the emotions.

I then present some of the methodology, expectations, and preliminary results of a cross-cultural study on musical grammar that I am presently conducting between South India and Switzerland. This empirical study focuses on two musical idioms and their grammatical features: Western classical music of the Common Period (ca. 1600-1900) and South Indian classical music (also know as Carnatic music). The main hypothesis of this study is that you need to master the grammar of a musical idiom in order to properly understand its musical meanings.'

If you are interested in Constant's talk then please do come along to e/107 in the main building of the music department at 2pm this Thursday.

Map: www.york.ac.uk/map/#e107
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Recent projects

Interaction between Aesthetic Judgement and Emotional Processing of Contemporary Music

Musicologists, practitioners, and critics have recognised that contemporary music is often challenging to audiences used to traditional western music structures. However, this music can be enjoyable. We will conduct a pilot study in order to understand why some listeners respond positively and others negatively to this music, identifying the cognitive and emotional processes that facilitate … Continued

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