"Exploring the Mind Through Music" is a week-long conference bringing musicians and scientists together to explore each other's disciplines. In this joint lecture titled "Music, Memory and Emotion," cognitive neuroscientist Robert Zatorre and music professor David Huron discuss these connections.
“Music in the Brain: Pitch, Imagery, and Emotion” by Robert Zatorre
How do our brains allow us to perceive and perform music? How do we imagine musical sounds? Why does music elicit emotion? Neuroscientists are increasingly interested in questions such as these, because music can be a powerful way to reveal the inner workings of the mind and the nervous system that underlies it. Since music touches upon almost all of the higher mental functions, it provides us with a rich source of material to understand how the brain works. Conversely, musicians and musical scholars are beginning to become interested in the idea that the study of music and the brain may reveal insights into music.
“What is a Musical Work? And Other Curiosities of Memory” by David Huron
Storing information serves no biological purpose unless the stored information makes future behaviors more adaptive. From a biological perspective then, "memory" is not about the past: it's about the future. The different kinds of memory discovered over the past century are best viewed as templates for future action, namely as foundations for expectation and planning. In this presentation, different types of memory will be illustrated through music. A number of emotions evoked by music can be plausibly traced to the interaction of different forms of memory. Memory research also provides helpful insights into a long-standing philosophical problem: What is a musical work?