Research
Last updated: 2020.10.18
The research of the Music Cognition Group (MCG) has a special focus on the temporal and melodic aspects of music using theoretical, empirical and computational methods.

The current research program aims to unravel our capacity for music (i.e. musicality): NWO 
Over the years it has become clear that we all share a predisposition for music, just like we have for language. Even those of us who can’t play a musical instrument or lack a sense of rhythm can perceive and enjoy music. We will refer to this unique predisposition, in all its complexity, as 'musicality', defined as a natural, spontaneously developing set of traits that are based on and constrained by our cognitive abilities and its underlying biology. As such, 'music', in all its diversity, can be defined as a social and cultural construct that is built on this musicality.
In the coming years we will focus on the following research questions:
  1. What are the core cognitive components of musicality?
  2. What are the biological and environmental factors contributing to musicality?
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    One core component, that currently gets special attention, is beat perception, using complementary evidence from computational modelling and neuroimaging. The central research question is:

  4. What computational mechanisms and neural networks underly temporal expectations?
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    And last but not least, we study everyday listening by developing listening games to find out about how listeners hear music, how their listening style compares to others, and providing a place where the music industry can test new ideas with the forefront of music cognition research:

  6. What do everyday listeners attend to when they listen to music?
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Current Funding
  • UvA-ABC Project Grant How temporal expectations shape musical experience in the human brain (2020-2022)
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Past Funding / Main Grants
  • NWO-Horizon Knowledge and Culture | New Methods for the Humanities: Empirical, Computational and Mathematical advances (2013-2019)
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  • NWO-CATCH COGITCH (COgnition Guided Interoperability beTween Collections of musical Heritage) (2012-2015)
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  • KNAW-Computational Humanities Tunes & Tales. Modeling Oral Transmission (2012-2015)
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  • UvA-CSCA The role of neural plasticity in conscious perception (2011-2015)
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  • NIAS/Lorentz Center Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship (2013-2014)
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  • KNAW-Hendrik Muller chair (2010-2013)
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  • EU-COST TIMELY (Network Grant) (2010-2013)
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  • NWO-GW Music matters: On music and the cognitive sciences (2008-2009)
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  • EU FP6-IST Emergent cognition through active perception (EmCAP), a three-year research project in the field of music cognition (2005-2008)
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  • NWO-STW Practice Space: exploration and training of music performance skills (realized at RU, 2005-2009)
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  • NWO-GW Foundations of the Humanities: a cognitive revolution in musicology (2005-2007)
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  • EU FP5-IHP MOSART: European network on music technology (2001-2003)
  • NWO-GW/MAGW Music Mind Machine (MMM) PIONIER project (1997-2003)
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  • NWO-STW Quantization of temporal patterns by neural networks (1997-2001)
  • NWO-SION Disclosure of large musical databases using a metric for temporal patterns (1997-1998)
  • KNAW A formalism for knowledge representation in music (1992-1997)



www.mcg.uva.nl