Music 270b. Musical Cognitive Science
Winter quarter 2014. University of California, San Diego
Section ID 804224

Meetings: Fridays, 5:00-7:50, CPMC 367
Instructor: Professor Miller Puckette, CPMC 251, 858-534-4823,,

Part of the 270abc "sequence" that is the basis of the computer music graduate program, this course focuses on the "meaning" of music, in the sense of how people make or perceive meaning in musical sound. This is studied in two ways: by stdying human subjects performing musical tasks, and by modeling musical structures themselves to try to capture elements of musical structure. This term will be split along those lines, as follows:

Part 1: cognitive psychology and music.

Jan. 10. Gestalt theory and auditory scene analysis:
streaming and segmentation in time; fusion and segregation of partials; spatial perception; synaesthesia and multi-modality.

Max Wertheimer, Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms. Translated from the German by W. Ellis(?):
Bregman on Auditory Scene Analysis:

Sonic Challenge due Jan. 31: Recreate one of the two audio grouping examples shown in class: the even/odd partial example or the ascending/descending melody -- or even better, find another good example and make it.

Jan. 17. Pitch, scales, and harmony:
terhardt pitch theory; place theory; nerve firing frequency; pitch height, chroma, circularity Balzano theory and musical scaes harmony (Krumhansl; Parncutt)

Readings for Jan. 17:
Carol L. Krumhansl and Roger N. Shepard, 1979. "Quantification of the Hierarchy of Tonal Functions Within a Diatonic Context"
Parncutt, 2011. The Tonic as Triad: Key Profiles as Pitch Salience Profiles of Tonic Triads
Diana Deutsch, Tritone Paradox, on

Jan. 24. more on pitch

readings for Jan. 24:
Alain de Cheveigne and Hideki Kawahara, YIN, a fundamental frequency estimator for speech and music

Terhardt's virtual pitch algorithm (best source I found so far is

(and on another topic entirely:) Balzano, G. What are musical pitch and timbre? Music Perception. 1986
Harvey, Jonathan. Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco: a Musical Realization at IRCAM, CMJ.

Jan. 31: Loudness and timbre
critical bands; sones, equal loudness curves, barks, and the bark cepstrum; masking
timbre spaces (John Grey and David Wessel)

readings for Jan. 24:
David Wessel, Musical Timbre as a Musical Control Structure
Hiroko Terasawa, Malcolm Slaney, Jonathan Berger, Perceptual Distance In Timbre Space

Feb. 7. Time and rhythm:
reading for Feb. 7:
Lerdahl, F. and Krumhansl, C. L., Modeling Tonal Tension, in Music Perception 24/4 (2007). .

Feb. 14. Experimental design and data analysis:
null hypotheses and significance tests; analysis of variance; dimensional reduction

PART 2: Models of musical processes

Feb. 21. Stochastic models.
Conditional probablilities, Markov chains, hidden Markov models (HMMs), entropy and information Feb. 28. Beat tracking and score following.
dynamic programming approach (Dannenberg); dealing with time in score following; beat tracking models

March 7. HCI and electronic music.
control theory; human factors research; acoustic and electronic musical instrument design

There will be no meeting March 14, but we will meet 11:30-2:30 Monday of Finals week (March 17) to hear student presentations.