What is Cognitive Science

Music Theory for Cognitive Scientists

Dmitri Tymoczko

Thursday, December 08, 2005, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Princeton University, Dept. of Music

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My talk aims to introduce cognitive scientists to recent developments in the foundations of music theory. I describe a number of properties that, I believe, jointly contribute to the perception of "tonality" in music. These include centricity, consonance, macroharmony, and efficient voice leading. (I will illustrate these properties with examples that do not presuppose musical training.) I conclude by presenting a geometrical model showing that musical chords can be represented as points in non-Euclidean "quotient spaces," with the structure of these spaces determined by elementary features of music perception. Throughout, I suggest ways in which cognitive scientists might use these ideas to understand and model music cognition.

Dmitri Tymoczko


"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

Note: Talks are also announced by email (with reminders sent the day of the talk) to people who have requested to be placed on our announce list. If you would like to be added to our announce list, please email the Business Office (business_manager@ruccs.rutgers.edu).