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Music Cognition


Admission requirements

This course is aimed at students from music-related and psychology-related fields. 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


This course will take place on Mondays from 15.00-17.00 hrs on the following dates:

Lecture 1: 4 February 2019
Lecture 2: 11 February 2019
Lecture 3: 18 February 2019
Lecture 4: 4 March 2019
Lecture 5: 11 March 2019
Lecture 6: 1 April 2019
Lecture 7: 8 April 2019
Lecture 8: 15 April 2019

Exam: 6 May 2019 PLEASE NOTE: the exam is in Lipsius 019, not in 227.
Resit exam: 3 June 2019.


Lipsius building, Cleveringaplaats 1, 2311 BD Leiden, room 227.
PLEASE NOTE: the exam on 6 May 2019 is in Lipsius 019, not in 227!

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 8 two-hour lectures: 16 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 40 hours

  • Assignments: 60 hours (written work and presentation)

  • Preparation exam: 22 hours

  • Exam: 2 hours

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Group assignment: research proposal (written): 20%
Group assignment: presentation (oral): 20%
Individual class participation: (10%)
Individual written test with closed and open questions: (50%, of which 70% closed and 30% open)


A resit for the exam will be held on June 3rd, 15-17h.

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 have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Distributing assignments

  • Distributing reading materials

  • Group collaboration (optional)

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 Blackboard

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


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 3rd and January 28th.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dhr. ir. R.T.W.L. Schneemann
Mw. dr. R.S. Schaefer Dr. Rebecca Schaefer


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