Research
Last updated: 2020.09.12
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:
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. This distinction might appear trivial, but it demarcates an important shift in music research from studying the structure of music (across cultures and species) to studying the structure of musicality, i.e. the cognitive and biological capacities that can give rise to music.
    This aim will be addressed by focusing on two 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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    In addition, we study how temporal expectations shape musical experience in the human brain, 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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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