Psychology of Music

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  • Published : November 28, 2007
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The scientific investigation of the relationship of music to the human mind. The first courses in the psychology of music in Canada were established in 1935 by Cyril C. (Cornelius) O'Brien at the Maritime Academy of Music in Halifax. As head of the academy's dept of psychology until 1947, O'Brien - b Halifax 22 Mar 1906; D MUS (Montreal), D PAED (Montreal), PH D psychology (Ottawa) - taught courses in the psychology of music, administered tests of musical talent, and wrote articles on music aptitude tests (1935), tonal memory (1943, 1953, 1958), and tone colour discrimination (1945). In Montreal Rodolphe Mathieu had begun administering music aptitude tests in 1930 at his Canadian Institute of Music. Despite these beginnings, only a few Canadian universities offered regular courses in the psychology of music in the late 1970s: the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Western Ontario, and Wilfrid Laurier University. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, research related to the field was conducted in university departments of both psycology and music education. At the University of Victoria, research has been carried out on the musical creativity of school children (Vaughan and Myers 1971); and at the University of Western Ontario there have been studies on the judging of instrumental performances of secondary school students (Fiske 1975). In addition, several masters' theses in education have dealt with topics related to the psychology of music (eg, Walley 1970, Cooper 1972). A major part of the research done in Canada in the psychology of music has been in psychoacoustics (the study of the precise relation between subjective representation and objective, acoustic variables) and auditory perception. Several studies on the right-hemisphere dominance of the brain in the perception of musical stimuli were carried out at McGill University (Doehring 1972, Bartholomeus et al 1973 and 1974, Kallman and Corballis 1975). Also at McGill, questions of order perception in...
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