Skip to main content

Music & Science

Music & Science research seeks to understand how music influences listeners and performers in everyday and performance contexts, including the underlying mechanisms involved in processing, creating, and enjoying music. This is an inherently empirical and interdisciplinary research area. Specific research expertise in the Department includes how music influences emotions, performers’ entrainment and synchronisation during music making, gesture and movement in performance, large-scale analyses of music using computational models to emulate the ways listeners process music, music and memory, music and mind-wandering, and cross-cultural aspects of music performance and listening.

 People at a computer studying a musical performance


 A range of opportunities for engaging with Music & Science research are available in the Department, from undergraduate modules (e.g., Music and Science, Psychology of Music) and an MA pathway in Music and Science to postgraduate research projects and seminars. Exemplary research by undergraduates in this area has been featured in our own, in-house journal, Durham Undergraduate Research in Music & Science, while postgraduate students regularly publish their work in leading international journals, such as Psychology of Music and Frontiers in Psychology. Eminent scholars in this field have regularly featured as guest lecturers in the Departmental Research Seminars, visiting professors (e.g., Peter Keller and Udo Will as Leverhulme Visiting Professors, Bill Thompson and Andrea Halpern as Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) Fellows), and speakers in our Music & Science Symposia. Staff and students meet fortnightly in Music & Science Lab meetings to discuss topics of shared interest.

For details of recent and ongoing projects and of our unique facilities, please visit our Music & Science Lab website.

Staff Research Interests


Professor Tuomas Eerola

Music and emotions; Music perception, particularly melody, rhythm and timbre; Music and movement
A cartoon image of Professor Tuomas Eerola

Professor Martin Clayton

Entrainment, interaction and movement; Cross-cultural research
Martin Clayton

Professor Nick Collins

Computer music and computational analysis, live computer music, musical artificial intelligence, computational musicology
Dr Nick Collins

Dr Kelly Jakubowski

Music and memory; Earworms; Musical imagery; Musical timing, rhythm, and movement; Absolute pitch Cross-cultural music research
Dr Kelly Jakubowski

Dr Imre Lahdelma

Perception of consonance and dissonance from a cross-cultural perspective.
Dr Imre Lahdelma

Dr Liila Taruffi

Dr Liila Taruffi