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Music and Memory

Music & Memory

This research explores the perception of musical keys and the factors responsible for their memorization following modulation. Extended tonal passages are often organized into related key regions, which rely on memory in order to be perceived. However, the extent to which we are able to do this is poorly understood and therefore several components of music that contribute to key memorization are being investigated, including the type of harmony (e.g., diatonic vs. chromatic), rhythm, melody, and timbre.

Representative Publications*

*bolding indicates lab students 

Spyra, J., Stodolak, M., & Woolhouse, M. H. (2021). Events versus time in the perception of nonadjacent key relationships. Musicae Scientiae (the Journal of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music), 25(2), 212-225. DOI: 10.1177/1029864919867463.

Noble, G., Spyra, J., & Woolhouse, M.H. (2020). Memory for musical key distinguished by timbre (PDF). Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Timbre (Timbre 2020), 57-60. Thessaloniki (online), Greece.

Spyra, J., & Woolhouse, M.H. (2018). Effect of melody and rhythm on the perception of nonadjacent harmonic relationships. In Parncutt, R., & Sattmann, S (PDF). (Eds.) Proceedings of ICMPC15/ESCOM10, 421-425. Graz, Austria: Centre for Systematic Musicology, University of Graz

Woolhouse, M. H., Cross, I. & Horton, T. (2016). Perception of non-adjacent tonic-key relationshipsPsychology of Music. 44/4: 802–815.