University of California, Berkeley
Department of Music

Music 220: Sample Examination Questions

Study questions have been divided into the following topics:


  1. Identify three general classes of behavior that can be observed by psychologists. Give examples of each.
    1) Gross (e.g. toe-tapping), 2) metabolic (e.g. heart-rate changes), 3) verbal (e.g. written response to a question).
  2. In experimental psychology, the statistical value p is very important. What is the importance of this statistic?
    The value p represents the probability of a set of observations arising by chance. Values of p vary between zero and one, where zero means that something never happens, and one means that something always happens. Experimental results are considered "significant" if the probability of observing the same phenomenon by chance are very low -- for example, less than one chance in one hundred (i.e. p < 0.01).
  3. Identify two problems associated with extrospection.
    (1) Not all psychological phenomena result in observable behaviors. (2) It is often difficult to infer the cause of a particular behavior.
  4. Describe the concept of `categorical perception'.
    Categorical perception occurs when we perceive a continuously variable factor in terms of discrete categories.
  5. Give two contrasting examples of categorical perception in music.
    (i) Clarke (1989) has shown that our perception of simple (eighth-eighth) and compound (quarter-eighth) metric groupings is categorical. (ii) Fraisse has shown that listeners tend to perceive complex ratios of durations in terms of simple whole number ratios. (iii) Listeners tend to perceive pitch variations in terms of the discrete categories of the chromatic scale.
  6. Sigmund Freud viewed artistic creativity as a form of sublimation. Explain this concept.
  7. What does catharsis mean?


  1. Label the parts of the outer ear as indicated.
  2. Label the parts of the middle ear as indicated.
  3. Label the parts of the inner ear as indicated.
  4. What is the difference between anatomy and physiology?
    Anatomy is a descriptive discipline whose purpose is to identify the parts of the body. Physiology is the study of the purpose or functioning of the parts of the body. For example, the heart is an anatomical entity. When we say that the purpose of the heart is to circulate blood, we are describing the physiology of the heart.
  5. What is the purpose of the eustachian tube?
    The purpose of the eustachian tube is to equalize the pressure of the middle and outer ears (i.e. both sides of the ear drum). This pressure balance enables the tympanic membrane to vibrate freely.
  6. What is a `super-pinna?'
    As is the case with human vision, auditory abilities differ from person to person. For example, some people are much better at localizing a sound than others. Edgar Shaw discovered that much of a person's localization ability is related to the shape of their pinnas. Shaw found that playing back sounds recorded through someone else's pinnas could considerably improve a normally poor subjects localization abilities. Shaw has dubbed the superior pinna shapes `super-pinnas.'
  7. What did Edgar Shaw discover about pinnas?
  8. A violin can sound quite different to the violinist playing it than to another listener. What is the major reason for this difference?
    Bone conduction through the chin rest emphasizes the bass frequencies and attenuates the high frequencies -- making the instrument sound more mellow to the performer than it does to the audience.
  9. Some listeners have the ability to voluntarily activate the auditory reflex. About what proportion of the population have this ability?
    About 1 to 2 percent of the population.
  10. What human generated sound is the ear most sensitive to?
    A human scream.
  11. A human scream generates its greatest energy in what frequency range?
    A human scream exhibits its greatest energy between 2,000 Hz and about 4,000 or 5,000 Hz.
  12. What does Ohm's Acoustical Law state?
    The ear is basically insensitive to phase.
  13. Briefly outline the Place Theory of Hearing.
    The place theory of hearing suggests that the perception of pitch is related to the point of maximum excitation on the basilar membrane. High and low frequencies excite the basilar membrane at opposite ends of the cochlea with intermediate frequencies exciting the middle section of the membrane. There is a direct mapping between the input frequency and the place of maximum excitation -- hence, the so-called "place theory." The mapping of frequency to neural activity along the membrane is said to be a "tonotopic" mapping.
  14. What is a tonotopic mapping?
    A relationship between pitch and place, as in the tonotopic arrangement of the basilar membrane.
  15. What part of the basilar membrane shows the greatest activity for low frequency inputs?
    The apical end is most activated.
  16. Why does a tone tend to mask tones higher in frequency more than tones lower in frequency?
    The upward spread of masking arises since lower frequency inputs tend to activate larger portions of the basilar membrane than higher frequencies.


  1. What are efferent nerves and what is their role in the auditory system?
    Efferent nerves are nerves which carry impulses from the brain to the sense organ. Their function is not clearly understood, but it appears that they serve some sort of inhibitory role.
  2. What is the microphone effect?
    Amplification of the general electrical activity in the auditory nerve will produce a recognizable likeness of the stimulus when reproduced over loudspeakers.
  3. What is meant by "absolute refractory period?"
    The maximum rate at which a single unit (neuron) can fire, recover, and fire again. The absolute refractory period is about 1 millisecond.
  4. What is the "volley theory"?
    For frequencies above about 1000 Hz, the absolute refractory period prevents single neurons from firing in synchrony with each input cycle. The volley theory suggests that for high frequencies, a large number of neurons fire asynchronously. The cumulative effect of such firings is a gross synchronous firing for each input cycle.
  5. What is meant by "characteristic frequency?"
    The input audio frequency (stimulus) for which a given neuron shows the greatest rate of discharge.


  1. What is so special about a sine wave?
    A sine curve is the smoothest possible oscillating curve; a sine wave represents a pure single frequency.
  2. What is the unit of frequency?
    The "hertz" -- abbreviated "Hz." (The unit is named after the German physicist, Heinrich Hertz.)
  3. What is a complex tone?
    A tone consisting of several component partials.
  4. What is the difference between periodic, aperiodic and pseudo-periodic sounds?
    Periodic sound waves have an identifiable cycle of exact repetition. Aperiodic sound waves have no identifiable cycle of repetition. Pseudo-periodic sound waves have an identifiable cycle of inexact repetition.
  5. Using speech sounds, give examples of (i) periodic, (ii) aperiodic, and (iii) pseudo-periodic sounds.
    Vowels (such as "oo" and "oh") are examples of periodic sounds. Fricatives (such as "s" and "sh") are examples of aperiodic sounds. Dipthongs (such as "oi" and "ai") are examples of pseudo-periodic sounds.
  6. What is the difference between a partial, harmonic, and overtone?
    A partial is any pure tone component of a complex tone. An overtone is any partial higher in frequency than the fundamental. (Partials lower than the fundamental are referred to as undertones.) A harmonic is any overtone that is harmonically related to the fundamental -- including the fundamental itself (which is the first harmonic).
  7. What is meant by "spectral content?"
  8. What is a sound "envelope?"


  1. On the graph below sketch the region of audibility.
  2. The perceived loudness of a sound is dependent upon many factors. List six of these factors. Using an asterisk, identify which factor is the most important.
    amplitude*, frequency, timbre, duration, presence of other sounds, memory, time of day, familiarity, expectation, attitude, intermittency.
  3. What do the Fletcher-Munson curves represent?
    The Fletcher-Munson curves join points of equal loudness -- measured in phons.
  4. When the volume control of a hi-fi system is turned down low, what perceived change occurs to the spectrum of frequencies?
    At low listening levels, the low frequencies become much quieter compared with the middle frequencies. (The very high frequencies also become quieter, but the effect is not as noticeable as for the low frequencies.)
  5. When the volume control of a hi-fi system is turned down low, is there less physical energy in the bass relative to the treble?
    No. The relative amplitudes are the same for all volume settings. However, the perceived energy in the bass is less relative to the treble.
  6. Define pitch.
    Our subjective sense of the "highness" or "lowness" of a sound.
  7. Define chroma.
    Musical tones that share the same pitch content but are one or more octaves apart in pitch height. That part of pitch perception which is independent of pitch height.
  8. How many "cents" are there in a "semit?"
  9. Describe the phenomenon of "stretched octaves."
    In the extreme bass and treble registers, tuners (and listeners) have a tendency to widen musical intervals so that octaves are somewhat larger than the frequency ratio of 2:1.
  10. The Comma of Didymus is also known as ...
    The Pythagorean Comma.
  11. What is the significance of the Comma of Didymus?
    A set of pitches can be tuned so that they are separated by the interval of a perfect fifth (frequency ratio of 2:3). After tuning twelve such pitches, the thirteenth pitch is very close to being an octave equivalent of the first pitch. The difference between the initial and thirteenth pitch is referred to as the Comma of Didymus or the Pythagorean Comma. The Comma of Didymus makes it impossible to tune a scale that conforms to just intonation. In the equal-tempered system of tuning, the Comma of Didymus is divided by twelve and distributed equally throughout all of the chromatic tones.
  12. SONES are to LOUDNESS, as ____________ are to PITCH.
  13. What affect does increasing loudness have on the perceived pitch of a frequency?
    For frequencies above 1000 Hz, increasing the loudness will increase the perceived pitch. For frequencies below 1000 Hz, increasing the loudness will decrease the perceived pitch. As frequencies move further away from 1000 Hz, the more pronounced the affect of loudness has.
  14. Critical bands are know to be related to distances on the basilar membrane. In millimeters, what is the approximate size of a critical band?
    1.0 millimeters.
  15. The size of a critical band varies according to frequency. In the middle range of hearing what is the approximate size of a critical band -- expressed as a musical interval?
    About 1/4 octave or a minor third.
  16. There are two forms of Temporal Masking: forward masking and backward masking. Which of the two forms is more marked in its effect?
    Forward masking.


  1. What is "middle C" in the middle of?
    Middle C is in the middle of the region of pitch sensitivity (high pitch weight) for complex tones.
  2. How are the pitches in chords typically spaced and why?
    Chordal tones are spaced more widely in the bass region. This spacing ensures a homogeneous spread of spectral components in the chord with respect to critical bands.
  3. What two equally-tempered 7-note scales provide the greatest potential for sensory consonance?
    The major diatonic scale and the harmonic minor scale.
  4. What is tonal fusion?
    Tonal fusion is the tendency for two sounds to cohere and sound as a single tone.
  5. Absolute Pitch (AP) has been found to change with age. What is the nature of that change?
    The perceived pitch rises 1 or 2 semits.
  6. Abraham (1901) suggested that Absolute Pitch is innate to all listeners, and that children gradual "unlearn" it as they grow up. How did Abraham suggest we "unlearn" AP?
    Abraham suggested that we "unlearn" absolute pitch due to the practice of singing songs in different keys -- without regard to maintaining the same key for each song.
  7. What common error is made by musicians possessing `perfect pitch'? What does this error suggest?
    Musicians with `perfect pitch' commonly make errors in identifying the octave of a pitch (0.5). This suggests that these musicians have absolute chroma rather than absolute pitch (0.5).
  8. Miyazaki (1989) collected reaction-time and identification-error measures that imply that absolute pitch is a learned phenomenon. What did Miyazaki's data show?
    Miyazaki's data showed that, when exposed to more frequently encountered chromas (such as C, G, E, D, etc.), AP subjects have faster reaction times and fewer identification errors than for less common chromas (F#, A#, C#, G#, etc.).
  9. What is meant by a "key characteristic?"
    The association of certain musical key signatures with a specific subjective quality or emotion. e.g. E major as "bright & piercing."
  10. What is a "Shepard's Tone" and what does it demonstrate?
    A Shepard's Tone is a complex tone constructed using octave-spaced partials spanning the complete range of hearing. Using these tones, Roger Shepard was able to construct tone sequences which were intransitive with respect to pitch. That is, Shepard was able to construct tone sequences, such that tone A was perceived as higher in pitch than tone B, tone B was perceived as higher in pitch than tone C, yet tone C was perceived as higher in pitch than tone A. This phenomenon led to the discovery that what we call `pitch' consists of two independent sorts of perception: (i) pitch height, and (ii) pitch chroma.
  11. Define arousal.
    Arousal may be defined as a person's general metabolic readiness to perceive and act. Seleep and wakefulness are examples of extreme states of arousal.
  12. Identify six changes associated with increased arousal?
    (i) increase heart rate, (ii) increased body temperature, (iii) increased rate of breathing, (iv) increased oxygen consumption, (v) increased glucose uptake, (vi) faster reaction times.
  13. What is the difference between tonic arousal and phasic arousal?
    Tonic arousal refers to relatively slow changes of base-level arousal, such as the diurnal cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Phasic arousal refers to changes of arousal arising from stimuli, such as the barking of a dog, or a rapidly approaching sound.
  14. What is the difference between active and passive auditory attention?
    Passive attention arises when the stimuli itself commands our attention. Active attention arises when we consciously direct our thoughts or perceptions toward a given stimulus.
  15. What is an orienting response? What are the characteristic physiological changes associated with orienting responses?
    The most overt form of the orienting response occurs when the subject physically moves his/her head in the direction of some stimulus -- i.e. orients to the source. Physiological changes distinctive of orienting responses include changes of skin conductance, pupil dilation, heart rate deceleration, cephalic vasodilation, peripheral vasoconstriction, as well as electromyographic and electroencephalographic effects (Rohrbaugh, 1984).
  16. What did Nakamura (1987) discover about how listeners perceive crescendos and diminuendos?
    Nakamura showed that listeners are more adept at recognizing crescendos than diminuendos.
  17. What did Mathews (1979) discover about how listeners perceive crescendos of different duration?
    Mathews showed that there is an optimum rate of loudness increase beyond which crescendos cease to be perceptually salient.
  18. What pattern is characteristic of Beethoven's dynamics? What is the psychological significance of this pattern?
    Beethoven's dynamics display a `ramp' pattern in which crescendos tend to be gradual, while diminuendos are abrupt. Research on auditory attention indicates that listeners are more attentive to increases of loudness than decreases of loudness -- although large decreases in loudness also tend to command the listener's attention. The prevalence of the `ramp' pattern in Beethoven's dynamics is consistent with a strategy for maintaining the listener's attention.
  19. Two tones begin precisely in tune. One of the tones is then gradually tuned away from the other. Describe in detail the perceptual changes which ensue as the two tones move apart.
    The two tones begin in precise unison -- with the result that the tones fuse together and are perceived as a single tone, rather than as two distinct tones. As the tones drift apart, there arises a slow beating which gradually becomes faster. Nevertheless, the two tones remain fused and are perceived as a single tone whose frequency lies mid-way between the two physical tones. As the rate of beating increases, the beating gives way to a sensation of roughness. This is a border region in which it is ambiguous whether there are one or two tones present. As the tones continue to move apart, the roughness disappears, and we hear two distinct tones -- one of static pitch, and the other moving.
  20. In 1961 Donald Greenwood releated tonal dissonance to the critical band. His theory states that ...
    Two tones will be perceived as tonally dissonant when they both fall within the region of a single critical band. The maximum dissonance arises when the two tones are separated by about 2/5 of a critical band.
  21. Does tonal consonance/dissonance depend upon the timbre of the participating tones?
    Yes. The amount of dissonance is determined by the interaction of all possible pairs of partials in complex tones.
  22. Order the following pitch intervals according to the degree of tonal consonance as perceived by an untrained naive listener. (minimum dissonance = 1)
    ________ Unison (1)
    ________ Minor Second (7)
    ________ Major Second (6)
    ________ Minor Third (5)
    ________ Major Third (4)
    ________ Perfect Fourth (3)
    ________ Perfect Fifth (2)
  23. Greenwood's theory of sensory dissonance suggests that there is a very simple way by which a performer can reduce the dissonance of a musical work. What can the performer do?
    For most works, the degree of dissonance may be reduced by transposing the work up in pitch (such as up an octave). Another way of reducing dissonance is to employ more muted tone colors -- that is, timbres that have less energy in the upper partials. The overall loudness may be reduced.
  24. What is an auditory stream?
    An auditory stream is the subjective experience of sonic singularity and continuity with respect to time -- the experience associated with a single ongoing sound source. An example of an auditory stream is the experience evoked by a speaking voice.
  25. Melodies are structured in accordance with Fitts' law. Describe Fitts' law and explain why melodies would be organized this way.
    Fitts' law is a law of kinematics that relates the speed of alternation between two targets to the size of the targets and the distance separating them. When the targets are large and close together, a muscle-driven alternation can be faster. Melodies are structured in accordance with Fitts' law via `leap lengthening': large pitch intervals tend to involve notes of longer duration than is the case for smaller pitch intervals.
  26. Using a diagram, describe why melodies tend to be more easily perceived when placed in the highest voice.
    For typical complex tones, the energy of the upper partials tends to decline with frequency. When two complex tones overlap, neighboring partials will tend to have greater amplitude for the higher of the two tones. As a result, the partials for the lower of the complex tones will tend to be more masked.
  27. About how many concurrent musical parts are musicians able to track without excessive difficulty?
    Musicians are typically able to track 3 parts or voices.
  28. In general, Bach prefers to use those intervals with the lowest sensory dissonance, and to avoid dissonant harmonic intervals. However, some intervals provide a notable exception to this practice. Which intervals constitute the exception, and why?
    Bach avoids the perfect intervals (unison, octave, perfect fourth and fifth) even though these intervals display a low degree of sensory dissonance. These intervals are the most prone to promote tonal fusion -- that is, the perceptual integration (fusion) of two tones into a single sound image. While Bach endeavors to use intervals exhibiting low sensory dissonance, he simultaneously endeavors to avoid tonal fusion.
  29. Does Bach tend to avoid inner-voice entries? Explain.
  30. What did Jay Dowling (1973) discover?
    Dowling found that interleaving the pitches of two melodies would cause perceptual confusion only if the melodies overlap in pitch. In other words, Dowling demonstrated that the crossing of parts is detrimental to maintaing the separate identifies to concurrent musical lines.
  31. Define tonal closure.
    The subjective experience of completion or finality to some musical passage.
  32. Describe Krumhansl's work on tonality perception.
  33. Identify and describe four classic types of musical textures.
    Monophony: Polyphony: Homophony: Heterophony:
  34. Are large melodic leaps more apt to ascend or descend in pitch?
    Large pitch leaps are more likely to ascend than descend. This phenomenon is found throughout the world's musical cultures.
  35. What physiological phenomenon might account for the so-called melodic arch?
    The pitch arch may be related to changes of sub-glottal air pressure -- increasing and then decreasing over the course of a single breath.


  1. Enculturation dominates a child's auditory and musical development until what age? (Moog, 1976)
    About 3 years of age.
  2. Children are typically unable to discriminate atonal from tonal melodies until what age?
    About the age of 7 or 8. (Zenatti, 1973, 1975)
  3. At about what age is continued musical development entirely attributable to environmental factors such as musical instruction or training, or through general exposure to music?
    About the age of 10.
  4. Identify four features of lullabies that make them especially suited to infants. (Hint: compare with infant-directed soothing speech.)
    (1) slow, (2) average pitch is higher, (3) few changes of pitch direction, (4) greater proportion of descending pitch intervals.
  5. At what age do children typically show less spontaneous body movement in response to music?
    About the age of 5.
  6. At what age do children typically show substantial rhythmic coordination?
    About the age of 10.
  7. Indicate the relative order of the child's development for each of the following musical/auditory attributes: rhythm, tonality, localization, pitch, style.
    Order of development: (1) localization, (2) pitch, (3) tonality, (4) rhythm, (5) style.


  1. Identify five physiological responses to noise that occur outside of the auditory system.
    (i) startle reflex, (ii) orienting response, (iii) increased heart rate, (iv) increased blood pressure, (v) vaso-constriction, (vi) increase in cholesterol, (vii) pupil dilation, (viii) change of muscle tone, (ix) epileptic seizures, (x) annoyance/attention distruption, (xi) headaches, (xii) Lombard effect.
  2. Noise-induced permanent hearing damage first occurs in what range of frequencies?
    In the higher range of frequencies; about 1/2 octave above the primary noise components; in the region of speech fricatives: F, S, TH, CH, and SH.
  3. A fetus will involuntarily increase its heart pulse with sounds as low as ________ dB SPL.
    50 dB SPL
  4. Gjestland discovered that the length of time between recurring loud noises affects a listener's tolerance more than the actual loudness of the noise. Which rate of occurrence was more disturbing: a fast rate or a slow rate?
    A slow rate.
  5. What have audiologists learned from studying the Mabban tribe of Sudan?
    Hearing loss with age is not pre-ordained. Hearing loss with age is dependent upon the loudness of the environment.
  6. What is an ototoxin? Give two examples of ototoxins.
    An ototoxin is a food, drug or chemical substance which is physiologically harmful to the auditory system. Known ototoxins include aspirin, alcohol, cigarette smoke, and chemotherapy drugs.
  7. Describe the Lombard Effect?
    The automatic raising of one's voice in response to a loud environment.
  8. You have gone out with your friends to a discotheque noted for loud music. Describe a "worst case" scenario from the point of view of possible hearing damage.
    My health is terrible; I'm on medication for high blood pressure, and recently got an infection, so I'm on antibiotics. I work as a jackhammer operator, so my hearing is already slightly impaired. I have lung cancer, but I just can't seem to give up smoking 3 packs a day. The chemo therapy seems to be helping, however. One of my great delights is riding my motor-cross motor cycle. The muffler is busted, so it really sounds cool when I roar up to the discotheque. Fortunately, I live in North Dakota where we don't have any commie laws requiring us to wear a helmut. I wear my walkman instead, with the volume turned up to "10" on a classic AC/DC album. I've already got a little head start on the evening with a few drinks; its okay though, Jack is the designated driver and he'll give me a ride home in his snowmobile. Tonight's a really special night -- billed as "The Wall of Sound" -- 15 different live industrial metal bands playing music from dusk to dawn; 10 hours of awesome noise. Charles (the bouncer) seats me at my regular table right in front of the P.A. I like feeling the vibrations in my chest. I knock back a few zombies while the first band gets cookin'. The atmosphere is already so thick with smoke that you don't really need to light up. But I chain-smoke anyway (just a habit I suppose). Actually, the bands really stink. I don't like the music, but at least they're good and loud. Between the boose and the racket, I end up with this splitting headache. I wanna get rid of it as soon as possible, so I pop 5 or 6 aspirins. Between drinks I fall in and out of consciousness all night long -- falling asleep in front of the roaring speakers. Finally, at dawn, Jack picks me up and takes me to his place on his snowmobile. It hasn't snowed yet so the metal skis make a fantastic grinding sound on the pavement. Jack's a real pal. He's also got a great gun collection. I'm a blond-haired blue-eyed white male supremacist, and so there's nothing I like better than shooting off a few hundred rounds on Jack's Uzi. I find the ringing in my ears really annoying, but Jack tells me that after a while it'll go away.


  1. Broca's and Wernicke's regions both contribute to language skills. What is the difference between the functions of these two areas?
    Broca's region is associated with speech production (motor), whereas Wernicke's region is associated with speech perception.
  2. Define the following disorders: Broca's aphasia, musical alexia, anomia, musical agnosia.
    Broca's Aphasia: Inability to speak correctly due to faulty motor control. Musical Alexia: Inability to read musical notation. Anomia: The inability to name or categorize things. Musical Agnosia: The inability to identify musical symbols.
  3. Broca's aphasia is most commonly caused by what medical condition?
    A stroke.
  4. Draw and identify 5 typical single unit responses to tone bursts.
    (i) on, (ii) off, (iii) on & off, (iv) tonic, (v) inhibitory, (vi) pauser, (vii) chopper.
  5. Gordon and Bogen (1974) performed an experiment in which they alternately anesthetized the left and right cerebral hemispheres. What did they discover?
    Gordon and Bogen found that anesthetizing the left cerebral hemisphere disrupted speech skills, whereas anesthetizing the right hemisphere disrupted singing skills.
  6. In the case of non-musicians, music perception and cognition appear to be localized primarily in the right cerebral hemisphere. Identify four fields of evidence that can be cited in support of this "standard" view of hemispheric specialization? (4)
    (i) brain injuries; (ii) anaesthetic experiments; (iii) EEG experiments, (iv) dichotic perception experiments.
  7. What important discovery was made by Bever and Chiarello in 1974?
    Although untrained listeners show a left ear advantage in music listening tasks, trained musicians show a right ear advantage. This discovery suggests that musical training changes the way in which musicians listen to music. Musicians appear to become more sequential and analytic in their listening behaviors.
  8. What evidence do we have that trained musicians experience music differently than non-musicians?
    Most non-musicians display a right hemisphere dominance for music listening, whereas trained musicians display a left hemisphere dominance. Much of musical training involves learning verbal labels for various phenomena. This training appears to lead to a more analytic (rather than primarily emotional) approach to listening.


  1. Identify the three "natal" emotions (i.e. emotions we're born with).
    distress, pleasure, and interest.
  2. Identify seven basic human emotions.
    anger, fear, interest, sadness, surprise, joy, disgust
  3. Give examples of secondary human emotions.
    shame, guilt, pride, hubris, love, suspicion, sympathy, empathy, jealosy
  4. Describe the concept of misattribution.
    Misattribution is the phenomenon of attributing an emotion to a cause other than the cause which evoked the emotion. For example, Maranon (1924) showed that injections of adrenaline would cause either anger or manic euphoria depending on the patient's surrounding context. Similarly, Dutton and Aron (1974) showed that swooning caused by a swaying bridge could be misinterpreted as enfatuation toward a person. It is possible that emotions evoked by music are commonly misattributed to associated people or places.
  5. What does John Ohala think is the origin of the smile?
    According to Ohala, the smile originates as a "sound display" of deference.
  6. What feature characterizes the "false smile"?
    The false smile is recognized by the absence of flexing the orbitis occularis (eye) muscles.
  7. Damage to what area of the brain is associated with emotional deficits related to planning and decision-making?
    Individuals suffering damage to the frontal lobe region show impaired emotions relating to planning and decision-making.
  8. Damasio and his colleagues have carried out a number of experiments where brain-damaged patients gamble with cards. What do these experiments show?
    Bechara, Tranel, Damasio, and Damasio (1993) measured galvinic skin responses (GSR) while gambling. Both normal and brain-damaged subjects showed marked responses when they draw a "winning" or "losing" card. However, as the gambling continues, normal subjects become increasingly apprehensive about drawing cards from one of the "dangerous" decks. That is, immediately prior to drawing a card from a dangerous deck, normal subjects showed peaks in GSR response. Moreover, these peaks in GSR increased in magnitude as the game progressed and as subjects became more aware of the danger of drawing a card from the high-risk decks. By contrast, the brain-damaged patients showed no "anticipatory GSR". Although they cognitively "knew" that these decks were "dangerous," they showed no negative anticipatory emotional response prior to drawing a card from these decks. In short, the brain-damaged patients react emotionally only to the fact of a loss, not to imagining the possibility of a loss. Unlike normal subjects, they show no anticipatory anxiety when taking a course of action they know to be risky. In short, their poor decision-making appears linked to an emotional deficit.
  9. The non-dominant hemisphere (typically the right hemisphere) is known to be more closely linked to emotion than the dominant (left) hemisphere. Identify four types of evidence supporting this view.
    (1) Patients suffering from receptive aphasia often understand the emotional purpose of a spoken utterance, even though they do not understand the meaning of the words. In addition, patients suffering from expressive aphasia often convey proper emotional inflection, even when their speech is gibberish (Danly & Shapiro, 1982). (2) The speech of patients suffering from right-hemisphere damage, often lacks emotional inflection -- a condition called aprosidia (Heilman, Scholes & Watson, 1975). (3) Patients suffering from left-hemisphere injuries are more apt to suffer from depression. Conversely, patients suffering from right-hemisphere injuries tend to show less emotional distress in response to their medical conditional. (Heilman & Watson, 1989) (4) Patients suffering from right-hemisphere damage often tend to treat words or phrases literally rather than metaphorically (Winner & Gardner, 1977). They also have greater difficulty comprehending humour. (Foldi, Cicone & Gardner, 1983) (5) Patients suffering from right-hemisphere damage have difficulties comprehending the emotional content conveyed by speech inflections ("receptive aprosidia"). (6) Patients suffering from right-hemisphere damage have difficulties recognizing emotional content in facial expressions. (7) When only one half of the face is visible, facial expressions on the left-side of the face (generated by the right-hemisphere) are judged as displaying more intense emotion than the right-side of the face (Sackheim, Gur & Saucy, 1978). (8) Further evidence suggests that the right hemisphere is more closely linked to lower-level brain structures associated with arousal, intention, and other autonomic functions. For example, right-hemisphere damage is associated with abnormal heart rate and skin conductance changes (Yokoyama, Jennings, Ackles, Hood & Boller, 1987; Scabini & Violani, 1982).
  10. Most music listeners take an interest in the personal lives, beliefs, and thoughts of those musicians whose music they appreciate. Outline a theoretic account (discussed in class) that might explain this extra-musical preoccupation.
    In emotional interactions generally, people are highly sensitive to the possibility of deceptive expressions of emotion. In empathizing with a particular emotional expression, people are vigilant for cues indicating that the expression is "authentic" "genuine," "true," "sincere" -- or whether it is "manipulative," "fake," "counterfeit," or "insincere." Since music is an activity in which people allow themselves to be "emotionally touched" -- that is, to empathize emotionally -- we may expect listeners to be preoccupied with whether the emotional/prosodic cues connote emotional sincerity. This account will also explain why impressions of the character of the musician (performer or composer) can play such an important role in musical experiences.
  11. Temple Grandin suffers from a notable emotional deficit. Identify the nature of the deficit and comment on how this deficit might explain her disinterest in music.
    Grandin is able to feel primary emotions (such as pain, fear, and sadness) but is unable to feel secondary emotions (such as love, empathy, guilt, betrayal). This situation implies that Grandin is able to experience basic music-evoked responses (such as arousal), but not associational (empathic) or critical emotional responses.
  12. What does the case of Temple Grandin suggest regarding music?
    Grandin is a high functioning Asperger Autist. She is unable to experience so-called "secondary" or socialized emotions such as shame, guilt, pride, suspicion, love, or sympathy. She has absolute pitch and a tenacious auditory memory, but she says that she simply doesn't `get' music. The case of Temple Grandin suggests that the development of secondary emotions may be essential for meaningful musical experience.
  13. What four characteristics are associated with Williams Syndrome?
    (1) mental retardation; (2) high verbal abilities; (3) high sociability; (4) high musical interest.
  14. Describe the two-dimensional model of mood proposed by Thayer.
    Thayer's model of mood entails two dimensions: energy and tension. The energy dimension is associated with levels of epinephrine and blood glucose. The tension dimension is associated with levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone). The extreme moods in this model are "calm-energy" (e.g. exuberance or euphoria), "calm-tiredness" (e.g. contentment), "tense-energy" (e.g. fight or flight response), and "tense-tiredness" (e.g. depression, crankiness).


  1. Define impulse.
    An event in time.
  2. Define and contrast pulse and impulse.
    Impulse is an event marked in time which is unexpected. Pulse is a series of recurring events marked in time; in contrast to impulse, pulse is mentally predictable (expected).
  3. Define and contrast pulse and beat.
    Pulse is a series of recurring events marked in time which are mentally predictable (expected). Beat is the differentiation of recurring events marked in time such that some are stressed and others are unstressed. Pulses are undifferentiated while beats are differentiated.
  4. Moog (1978) found that individuals with normal mental abilities but severe physical handicaps (restricted movement) have greater difficulties with rhythmic perception. What theory of rhythm does this evidence support?
    The `Motor Theory of Rhythm' (also known as the `Kinesthetic Theory of Rhythm').
  5. Describe the so-called "Motor Theory of Rhythm."
    This theory contends that rhythms are perceived by reconstructing them mentally as a series of periodic thought-actions which stop short of actual motor movement. Toe-tapping is an example of when these rhythmic mental productions become manifested as observable movement. The motor theory of rhythm has its parallel in generative models of speech perception (Liberman et al, 1964). According to this theory, speech is perceived by internally synthesizing or recreating the speech act. (For example, in "subvocalization" during reading tasks.)


  1. Listeners tend to day-dream frequently while listening to music. What neurological account might be given to explain the predominance of day-dreaming?
    Listening to music may tend to leave the dominant language-oriented left hemisphere with little to do. The left cerebral hemisphere may consequently generate its own linguistic fantasies or thoughts.
  2. About what proportion of people report seeing or imagining visual images while listening to music?
    About 50 percent.
  3. Does musical training tend to increase or decrease the amount of visual imagery experienced by a listener?
    Decreases visualization.
  4. According to Bharucha's research, do we react faster or slower to sounds we expect?
    Faster; we are slowest to respond when the stimulus is nearly what we expect.
  5. What is "memory scan listening?"
  6. What is tonality?
  7. According to Krumhansl's theory of tonality, what pitch is most likely to be perceived as the tonic?
    The most frequently occurring pitch.


  1. What are the four basic types of service provided by Muzak?
    Muzak for: (i) public areas, (ii) office areas, (iii) light industrial, and (iv) heavy industrial areas.
  2. what is the goal of Muzak for work areas?
    The goal of Muzak for work areas is to maintain or increase productivity. It does this by maintaining arousal without attracting attention.
  3. What two features of the normal work-day does Muzak attempt to offset?
    Muzak attempts to offset the decrease in worker efficiency which tends to occur during the mid-morning (10-11 AM) and mid-afternoon (3-4 PM). In addition, Muzak also attempts to synchronize and limit the duration of day-dreaming breaks between spurts of work activity.
  4. What four factors does Muzak consider in measuring the "stimulus value" of a musical work?
    (i) tempo (beats per minute), (ii) rhythmic classification (waltz, latin, etc.), (iii) types of instruments used (brass, strings, etc.), (iv) size of orchestra.
  5. Explain the stimulus progression concept in Muzak.
    Stimulus progression describes the increase in the average stimulus value over the course of a 15 minute segment. The segment is followed by a brief period of silence (about 30 seconds).
  6. How does Muzak for light and heavy industry differ from Muzak for office areas?
    Muzak in industrial settings employs greater "penetration." More emphasis is placed on percussion instruments, and melodic instruments with more penetrating timbres (e.g. oboe as opposed to flute)). The Muzak may also be scheduled earlier to conform to industrial work hours.
  7. Describe the Hawthorne Effect.
    The Hawthorne Effect identifies the tendency of an environmental change in a work setting to stimulate short-term increase of productivity. Enhancing the work-place makes workers feel cared-for by management. However, productivity typically decreases after about a 3 month period to a long-term base level. Increases of productivity may occur by making the work-place less hospitable, since workers may still feel that management are observing them.
  8. What is the Yerkes-Dodson law? How might it apply to listening to music?
    The Yerkes-Dodson law relates task complexity with optimum arousal level. When pursuing highly complex tasks, it is usually better to have a lwoer arousal level than when pursuing very simple tasks. This suggests that it is appropriate to play highly stimulating music when engaged in simple activities, but that less stimulating music would be better when engaged in complex tasks.


  1. Identify four institutional settings in which music therapy is typically practised.
    (i) hospitals, (ii) mental and psychiatric institutions, (iii) nursing homes and other extended care facilities, (iv) schools, kindergardens, and nursery schools.
  2. What psychological disorder has music therapy proved most successful as a treatment?
  3. Involving a patient in music-making activities is one of the most important methods of music therapy. Identify five ways in which patient-performed music may have a therapeutic function.
    (i) Participation encourages physical movement (i.e. a goal-oriented form of physiotherapy). (ii) Participation can benefit withdrawn or socially passive patients. (iii) Provides the patient with a sense of accomplishment and thereby increases the sense of self-worth. (iv) Can lead to praise given by others and thereby further contribute to sense of self-worth. (v) May provide a non-verbal mode of self-expression. (vi) Music-making may engage the mind in new activities and stimulate learning of new skills.


  1. In the Suzuki method of musical training, what skilled activity is deferred until the last in the instruction of a child?
    Learning to read musical notation is deferred.
  2. In the Suzuki method of musical training, the initial training regimen consists of the sequence: .ce listen - remember - play In a later stage of training, the regimen is changed. What is the new sequence?
    listen - remember - play - read
  3. Identify six symptoms characteristic of performance anxiety.
    (1) sweating, (2) increased heart rate, (3) altered breathing, (4) increased muscle tension and trembling, (5) cold limb extremities, (6) stomach cramps ("butterflies," (7) dry mouth, (8) decreased blinking, (9) pupil dilation.
  4. The symptoms of `stage fright' are caused by what natural body response?
    The `flight' or `fight' response.
  5. Identify and describe three different types of performance memory.
    (i) Eidetic memory (visual recall of the score). (ii) Aural memory (recall of the sound of the music). (iii) Kinesthetic memory (recall of a sequence of motor actions).
  6. What form of musical memory is the most common amongst performers?
    Kinesthetic memory is the most common type of performance memory.
  7. What features distinguish a good reader of musical notation from a poor reader?
    (i) Good readers have shorter fixation times. (ii) Good readers make fewer fixations in reader a given notation. (iii) Good readers are less prone to back-tracking. (iv) Good readers have greater preview. (v) Good readers fixate on points of significant musical structure.
  8. What is "proof-reader's error?"
    Reading errors in which notational inaccuracies are unconsciously "corrected" by the reader.
  9. "Proof-reader's errors" occur most frequently at what part of a musical phrase?
    Proof-reader's errors occur most commonly in the mid-phrase position.
  10. Identify two saccadic approaches to music reading and indicate the types of musical contexts in which each is likely to appear.
    Contrapuntal music tends to be scanned line by line within a measure. Homophonic music tends to be scanned vertically chord by chord.
  11. What is "frisson?"
    Frisson is the experience of "chills" that can occur in response to music.
  12. Describe the effect of the drug Naloxone. Identify its significance in the psychology of music.
    Naloxone is an opiate receptor antagonist. Naloxone interferes with the neurological mechanisms by which we experience pleasure. With a dose of naloxone, things that are normally pleasurable, no longer give pleasure. Naloxone has been shown to reduce the excitement or pleasure associated with music listening. This suggests that listening to music is able to activate the brain's opiate receptors. (Like other forms of pleasure, listening to music may be addictive.)
  13. What evidence do we have that listening to music releases endorphins?
    Goldstein's experiment showed that injection of an opiate receptor antagonist resulted in decreased ratings of musical pleasure. This suggests that music listening ultimately causes the release of endorphins that (normally) bind with the pleasure receptors.
  14. Compare and contrast the drugs naloxone and propranolol.
    Propranolol is a beta-blocker. It reduces the speed of trans-synaptic neurotransmitters. It effectively eliminates many of the symptoms of `stage fright.'
  15. What is the NAPS theory of music?
    NAPS stands for `non-adaptive pleasure seeking'. A behavior is said to be NAPS when it evokes pleasure without conferring some sort of evolutionary advantage. Eating is an example of an `APS' behavior: eating is both pleasurable and also increases survival. Heroin use is an example of a `NAPS' behavior: while it is pleasurable, heroin use does not increase survival. The NAPS theory of music suggests that music evokes pleasure while failing to increase human survival.
  16. What did Fukui (1996) discover?
    Fukui carried out an experiment that showed that listening to music can reduce testosterone levels.
  17. Compare and contrast the theories of musical meaning espoused by Deryck Cooke, Philip Tagg, and Leonard Meyer.
  18. Identify and describe three types of rhythmic stress.
    Dynamic stress (louder sound); agogic stress (longer sound); tonal stress (different pitch).


  1. What evidence do we have that musical competence is something qualitatively different than general intellectual or mental competence?
    Case studies of so-called "idiot-savants" indicate that musical competence may be present despite a general intellectual deficiency. Also, many intelligent people show no corresponding musical gift.
  2. What is the difference between a musical aptitude and a musical ability?
    An aptitude is a propensity to be able to develop a certain skill. It is a potential to learn. An ability is a skill or capability to perform some mental or physical task.
  3. In order for a test or measure of musical aptitudes or abilities to be good, what two general criteria must it meet?
    Reliability. The test should produce highly replicable scores for repeat testing. Validity. The test should truly measure what it purports to measure. (e.g. musical "intelligence").


  1. What did Sherif (1935) discover about group norms?
    Sherif showed that individual norms tend to gravitate toward a group norm when individuals are placed in a social setting rather than in isolation. In addition, Sherif showed that, once established, group norms tend to supercede and persevere for individuals once the group setting has been disbanded.
  2. What did Scott (1957) discover concerning the effect of rewards for attitude change?
    Scott demonstrated that individuals could reverse their own opinions if they received social approval for doing so.
  3. What did Asch (1951) discover about group norms?
    Asch demonstrated that individuals were willing to twist their own judgements to conform with a unanimous group norm -- even when such judgements completely contradicted obvious evidence to the contrary.
  4. What did Keane (1982) discover concerning interpretation of the meaning of a musical work?
    Keane showed that interpretations concerning the meaning of a particular musical work were highly susceptible to (irrelevant) suggestion.
  5. In The Fashion Cycle Quentin Bell claims that fashion is propelled by what social-psychological impulse?
    Imitate those of a social group you wish to belong to; be different from those you don't want in your social group.