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Introduction to the Psychology of Music - MUS00112H

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Hauke Egermann
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2022-23

Module summary

This course will introduce students to scientific research in Music Psychology which aims to explain and understand musical behaviour and experience, including the processes through which music is created, perceived, responded to, and incorporated into everyday life.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Music Psychology aims to explain and understand musical behaviour and experience, including the processes through which music is created, perceived, responded to, and incorporated into everyday life (Tan, Pfordrescher, Harré, 2010). Accordingly, this module will introduce students to the basic mechanisms underlying these human capacities. We will start with engaging in the functionality of the auditory system and from there, elaborate on the perception and cognition of musical elements, such as melody, rhythm, harmony, timbre or higher level structures like compositional form or expressiveness. Subsequently, we focus on basic principles underlying listener experience (aesthetics, emotion, and preferences). Finally, the module will provide a introduction to the mechanisms that underlie musical performance skills, like sensorimotor learning, training, and musical talent. During the course of this module, students will be also introduced to basic principles of social science research methods including the design of experimental studies, statistics, and data analyses.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the project all students should:

  • have a knowledge and understanding of how the human mind processes music including the perception of pitch, timbre, timing, expectation, emotion and aesthetics and the mechanisms underlying musical performance skills,
  • be able to evaluate the methodology of empirical studies from the field of Music Psychology,
  • be able to design empirical studies from the field of Music Psychology,
  • and be able to apply this knowledge in their own professional approach to teaching, composing, and performing music.

Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate learning outcomes C1-6.



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 80
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

A literature review of approximately 3000 words on a topic of the student’s choice agreed in tutorial (80%); and a short presentation in class, which will be assessed through a submitted write-up of that presentation, approximately 1000 words (20%).


Task Length % of module mark
Re-assessment: 4000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Report form with marks to student no later than 20 working days from submission of assessment.

Indicative reading

Hodges, D. & Sebald, D. (2010). Music In the Human Experience: An Introduction to Music Psychology. New York: Routledge.

Hallam, S., Cross, I., Thaut, M. (Eds.) (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford: University Press.

Goldstein, E.B. (2010). Sensation and Perception. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Deutsch, D. (1999). The psychology of music. Academic Press.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.