Music as Biology: What We Like to Hear and Why

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  • Course Introduction
    • Introduction to Music as Biology
  • Sound Signals, Sound Stimuli, and the Human Auditory System
    • An overview of the organization of the human auditory system, and how sound signals are transformed into sound stimuli.
  • The Perception of Sound Stimuli
    • An introduction to the sound qualities we perceive, and how and why these qualities differ from the information in sound signals.
  • Vocalization and Vocal Tones
    • A discussion of the nature of vocal sound signals, their biological importance and their role in understanding music.
  • Defining Music and Exploring Why We Like It
    • The tonal phenomena that need to be explained in any theory of music, and different approaches that have been take to provide answers.
  • Musical Scales
    • Why a small number of basic scales are used in music worldwide, and how a biological framework explains this and related puzzles.
  • Music, Emotion, and Cultural Differences
    • How emotion is conveyed by vocal similarity in music across cultures, and how the speech of a culture and its music are related. A summing up of the major points in the course follows.
  • Additional Resources
    • Additional demonstrations and commentaries by Ruby Froom on some of the musical issues considered in the course, as well as a glossary of terms and bibliography for references.