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Music Cognition


Admission requirements

This course is aimed at students from music-related and psychology-related fields, but is open for all. There are no admission requirements.


This course offers an accessible introduction and overview of the multidisciplinary topic of music cognition, which deals with the perceptual and cognitive bases of performing, composing, and listening to music. Covered topics will include perceptual mechanisms underlying pitch and rhythm perception; interactions of musical processing with emotion, language, memory and movement; music acquisition processes and expertise; brain processes related to music and applications of music in health settings. Assignments will include engaging with the scientific literature, constructing a research proposal, and a final exam.

Course objectives

After this course, you will

  • Have a broad overview of the field of music cognition and its main relevant topics and findings

  • Have an understanding of musical building blocks that are relevant to perception, understanding and creation of music

  • Have an understanding of the methods by which music cognition research achieves its results

  • Gain experience in creating your own research proposal

  • Gain experience in interdisciplinary collaboration


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours
Estimated load individual components:

  • Lectures: 10 two-hour lectures: 20 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 50 hours

  • Assignments: 50 hours (written work and presentation)

  • Preparation exam: 18 hours

  • Exam: 2 hours

Assessment method


Attendance is mandatory for April 21th and April 28th, and for 6 out of the other 8 lectures.

Assessment and Weighing

Group assignment: research proposal (written): 20%
Group assignment: presentation (oral): 10%
Individual written test with multiple choice and open questions: (70%, of which 70% mc and 30% open)


A resit for the exam will be held on June 14th, 15.00-17.00 hrs.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.


Brightspace will be used for:

  • Distributing assignments

  • Distributing reading materials

  • Group collaboration

Reading list

  • Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance, 2nd Ed., 2017. S.-L. Tan, P. Pfordresher & R. Harré. Routledge, New York, NY

  • Assorted additional chapters and articles to be distributed on Brightspace

Reading will be assigned for every lecture, and communicated on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website
Please note that at the Faculty of Humanities, registration for this course is possible between December 15th 13.00 hrs. ,and January 28th.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.


Lecturer: Dr. R.S. Schaefer
Coordinator: Dhr. ir. R.T.W.L. Schneemann


For other courses in the domains of music and fine arts, please visit:

Elective courses music and fine arts