Last modified 27 Mar 2024

Guiding concepts on the evolution of musicality

A workshop with prof. dr. Aniruddh D. Patel (Tufts University)


Aniruddh Patel gave a public lecture on the evolution of musicality at the MPI Colloquium Series in Nijmegen (live stream) on Tuesday 19 March 2024. The Amsterdam scientific workshop was held on on Friday 22 March 2024, and was by invitation only.

In this workshop, organised by MCG, we discussed prof. Patel’s book chapter entitled “Musicality and gene-culture coevolution” (2023, The MIT Press), that presents ten concepts aimed to guide productive exploration of the study of our capacity for music (i.e. musicality, for short).

To start up conversation and stimulate discussion during the workshop, participants (from a variety of related fields) were asked to, in advance:

  • read (Patel, 2023), and
  • comment on a shared Google doc any points they would like to discuss.

Patel writes at the end of the introduction of his book chapter: “I hope this chapter will lead to conversations with colleagues in other fields who can refine and augment these concepts to make them useful to scholars across a range of disciplines.”

For those interested in the general debate on the origins of musicality, see:

Biographical note

Aniruddh D. Patel is a Professor of Psychology at Tufts University. He received his BA from the University of Virginia (1987) and his AM (1990) and PhD (1996) from Harvard University. He then joined The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, CA, where he was a Senior Fellow from 2005-2012. Dr. Patel’s work focuses on music cognition: the mental processes involved in making, perceiving, and responding to music. Areas of emphasis include music-language relations (the topic of his 2008 book, Music, Language, and the Brain, Oxford Univ. Press) rhythmic processing, and cross-species studies of music cognition. A wide variety of methods are used in this research, including brain imaging, behavioral experiments, theoretical analyses, acoustic research, and comparative studies with nonhuman animals. Dr. Patel has served as President for the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2009-2011) and is a Fellow in the Brain, Mind, and Consciousness program in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).

Date and location

Friday 22 March 2024, 14:00-17:00, at the University of Amsterdam, location Science Park: Lab42, L3.33.

Public lecture

Ani Patel gave a public lecture in the MPI Colloquium series, on the same topic (Patel, 2023 ), on Tuesday 19 March 2024 at 15:45. A live stream was available.

Workshop schedule

  • 14:00 Introduction
  • 14:05 Opening statement by Ani Patel
  • 14:15 Session 1
  • 15:15 Break
  • 15:45 Session 2
  • 16:45 Conclusions
  • 17:00 Close & Group photo


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