David Huron

David Huron is Distinguished Professor in the School of Music and in the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the Ohio State University; he is author of Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation (MIT Press).

  • Voice Leading

    Voice Leading

    The Science behind a Musical Art

    David Huron

    An accessible scientific explanation for the traditional rules of voice leading, including an account of why listeners find some musical textures more pleasing than others.

    Voice leading is the musical art of combining sounds over time. In this book, David Huron offers an accessible account of the cognitive and perceptual foundations for this practice. Drawing on decades of scientific research, including his own award-winning work, Huron offers explanations for many practices and phenomena, including the perceptual dominance of the highest voice, chordal-tone doubling, direct octaves, embellishing tones, and the musical feeling of sounds “leading” somewhere. Huron shows how traditional rules of voice leading align almost perfectly with modern scientific accounts of auditory perception. He also reviews pertinent research establishing the role of learning and enculturation in auditory and musical perception.

    Voice leading has long been taught with reference to Baroque chorale-style part-writing, yet there exist many more musical styles and practices. The traditional emphasis on Baroque part-writing understandably leaves many musicians wondering why they are taught such an archaic and narrow practice in an age of stylistic diversity. Huron explains how and why Baroque voice leading continues to warrant its central pedagogical status. Expanding beyond choral-style writing, Huron shows how established perceptual principles can be used to compose, analyze, and critically understand any kind of acoustical texture from tune-and-accompaniment songs and symphonic orchestration to jazz combo arranging and abstract electroacoustic music. Finally, he offers a psychological explanation for why certain kinds of musical textures are more likely to be experienced by listeners as pleasing.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00
  • Sweet Anticipation

    Sweet Anticipation

    Music and the Psychology of Expectation

    David Huron

    The psychological theory of expectation that David Huron proposes in Sweet Anticipation grew out of the author's experimental efforts to understand how music evokes emotions. These efforts evolved into a general theory of expectation that will prove informative to readers interested in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology as well as those interested in music. The book describes a set of psychological mechanisms and illustrates how these mechanisms work in the case of music. All examples of notated music can be heard on the Web.

    Huron proposes that emotions evoked by expectation involve five functionally distinct response systems: reaction responses (which engage defensive reflexes); tension responses (where uncertainty leads to stress); prediction responses (which reward accurate prediction); imagination responses (which facilitate deferred gratification); and appraisal responses (which occur after conscious thought is engaged). For real-world events, these five response systems typically produce a complex mixture of feelings. The book identifies some of the aesthetic possibilities afforded by expectation, and shows how common musical devices (such as syncopation, cadence, meter, tonality, and climax) exploit the psychological opportunities. The theory also provides new insights into the physiological psychology of awe, laughter, and spine-tingling chills. Huron traces the psychology of expectations from the patterns of the physical/cultural world through imperfectly learned heuristics used to predict that world to the phenomenal qualia we experienced as we apprehend the world.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00

Contributor

  • The Origins of Musicality

    The Origins of Musicality

    Henkjan Honing

    Interdisciplinary perspectives on the capacity to perceive, appreciate, and make music.

    Research shows that all humans have a predisposition for music, just as they do for language. All of us can perceive and enjoy music, even if we can't carry a tune and consider ourselves “unmusical.” This volume offers interdisciplinary perspectives on the capacity to perceive, appreciate, and make music. Scholars from biology, musicology, neurology, genetics, computer science, anthropology, psychology, and other fields consider what music is for and why every human culture has it; whether musicality is a uniquely human capacity; and what biological and cognitive mechanisms underlie it.

    Contributors outline a research program in musicality, and discuss issues in studying the evolution of music; consider principles, constraints, and theories of origins; review musicality from cross-cultural, cross-species, and cross-domain perspectives; discuss the computational modeling of animal song and creativity; and offer a historical context for the study of musicality. The volume aims to identify the basic neurocognitive mechanisms that constitute musicality (and effective ways to study these in human and nonhuman animals) and to develop a method for analyzing musical phenotypes that point to the biological basis of musicality.

    Contributors Jorge L. Armony, Judith Becker, Simon E. Fisher, W. Tecumseh Fitch, Bruno Gingras, Jessica Grahn, Yuko Hattori, Marisa Hoeschele, Henkjan Honing, David Huron, Dieuwke Hupkes, Yukiko Kikuchi, Julia Kursell, Marie-Élaine Lagrois, Hugo Merchant, Björn Merker, Iain Morley, Aniruddh D. Patel, Isabelle Peretz, Martin Rohrmeier, Constance Scharff, Carel ten Cate, Laurel J. Trainor, Sandra E. Trehub, Peter Tyack, Dominique Vuvan, Geraint Wiggins, Willem Zuidema

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00
    • Paperback $40.00 £32.00