Neurodynamics of Music

  • Edward W. LargeEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 36)


Music is a high-level cognitive capacity, similar in many respects to language (Patel 2007). Like language, music is universal among humans, and musical systems vary among cultures and depend upon learning. But unlike language, music rarely makes reference to the external world. It consists of independent, that is, self-contained, patterns of sound, certain aspects of which are found universally among musical cultures. These two aspects – independence and universality – suggest that general principles of neural dynamics might underlie music perception and musical behavior. Such principles could provide a set of innate constraints that shape human musical behavior and enable children to acquire musical knowledge. This chapter outlines just such a set of principles, explaining key aspects of musical experience directly in terms of nervous system dynamics. At the outset, it may not be obvious that this is possible, but by the end of the chapter it should become clear that a great deal of evidence already supports this view. This chapter examines the evidence that links music perception and behavior to nervous system dynamics and attempts to tie together existing strands of research within a unified theoretical framework.


Outer Hair Cell Canonical Model Nonlinear Resonance Neural Oscillation Music Perception 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Complex Systems & Brain SciencesFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA

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