Events Calendar

Music Graduate Colloquium: Andrew Goldman

Friday, January 25, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Talbot College (TC)
Room: 101
graduate colloquium

Presented by Graduate Studies in Music, the Don Wright Faculty of Music Graduate Colloquium series includes lectures by distinguished guests, Western faculty members, and senior graduate students on all fields of research and creative activity in music.

Andrew Goldman (Postdoctoral Scholar, Western University)
“Using Neuroscience in Music Research: Critical Challenges and Contributions”

Given the increasing prominence of neuroscientific accounts of music-theoretical topics, it is important to continue to critically examine the challenges and contributions of the work. Such reflection allows for more meaningful integration of neuroscientific findings with other areas of music theory, and leads to better designed experiments that are appropriately sensitive to the complexity of the topics they investigate. Here I discuss two challenges and two contributions of neuroscience to music theory. The challenges are the problem of defining behavior (wherein the definitions of musical behavior are under-defined, potentially leading to uninterpretable findings) and the problem of reverse inference (wherein the attribution of particular neural function to particular musical phenomena is unjustified). The contributions I discuss are comparison (wherein neuroscience allows for apparently distinct topics to be related, and apparently similar topics to be distinguished), and consilience (wherein neuroscience helps build bridges across domains of explanation). Following this theoretical discussion, I turn to specific empirical work on the neuroscience of musical improvisation. I use the theoretical ideas to critique past work as well as highlight its value, and then show how they have motivated the experimental design and data interpretation for my own studies. In particular, I present a recent study I conducted in which we analyzed 40 musicians’ electroencephalography (EEG) signal to examine differences in how they categorize musical structures, as a function of their experience with improvisational music-making practices. A final emergent theme from this critical analysis is that not all neuroscience studies are the same, and vary not only in the topics they address and methods they use to address them, but also in the epistemology motivating their claims.

All Colloquium series events take place on selected Fridays in Talbot College 101 at 3:30 pm. (unless otherwise noted). Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend!

For FAQ, parking and other useful patron information visit

End time approximate.

Audrey Yardley-Jones - Graduate Program Assistant
519-661-2111 ext. 85354
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