Convergent Research Methods in Music Cognition

  • Edward C. Carterette
  • Roger A. Kendall
Conference paper


An often overlooked principle of perceptual research is that what we learn is dependent upon what we ask and how we ask it. Experimentation in cognitive music research is driven implicitly and explicitly by assumptions, models, and theoretical constructs both of cognitive psychology and music. Most research in music perception and cognition is implemented by a single method. Recently, questions have been raised about the validity and generality of such a limited approach, particularly regarding such complicated theoretical constructs as musical tonality. We propose that a useful technique is to converge on the answer to experimental questions by applying multiple methods, in essence to investigate simultaneously the central research question as well as ancillary questions of method. We suggest that psychomusical research mandates the use of multiple, convergent methods and the invention or derivation of new approaches. This principle of convergence is illustrated by examples from research on tonality, musical communication and timbre.


Music Percept Convergent Method Pitch Class Wind Instrument Music Cognition 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward C. Carterette
  • Roger A. Kendall

There are no affiliations available

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