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MUSIC 2MC3 Psychology Of Music

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Office Hours: Tuesday 4:30-5:30

Course Objectives:

Overview: This course will explore a number of fascinating questions, including: What
do musicians need to know about psychology? How does music ‘work’? What does it
mean to “understand” music? Why does music regarded as “beautiful” in some cultures
sound “painful” to our ears? Is western tonal music “better” than other forms of music?
What is the best way to teach children music? Does music make us smarter?
Course Objectives: The objectives of this course are:
1) To introduce key concepts from perception and cognition of practical use to
2) Discuss ways in which music cognition research can be used to help inform
current musical practices
3) To build critical reading, writing, thinking, and research skills
4) Introduce topics of research within the emerging field of music cognition

Active participation by all students is essential.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of MUSIC I.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text: Tan, Pfordresher, & Harré (2010).
Psychology of Music (2010). The latest textbook for
teaching music cognition. Available at the campus bookstore
or online through a number of retailers.

Method of Assessment:

Midterm test (October 20)                                  20 %

Class participation                                               10 %

In-class presentation (scheduled in November)   20%

Research project proposal (due Nov. 26)             20 %

Final Exam                                                           30 %

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Focus of lectures will be posted on "Avenue to Learn"