Header Bild Methods in Empirical Music Research - An intensive five-day workshop for Music Scholars taught by Prof. David Huron - July 18 -22, 2016, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany

Methods in Empirical Music Research - An intensive five-day workshop for Music Scholars taught by Prof. David Huron -  July 18 -22, 2016, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany

Methods in Empirical Music Research

An intensive five-day workshop for Music Scholars taught by Prof. David Huron
July 18 -22, 2016, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany

Special Guest Lecturer Dr. Daniel Shanahan



This workshop will be of interest to anyone wishing to expand or enhance their research skills in music. Participants will learn how to design and carry out music experiments, and how to apply empirical, systematic and statistical techniques to problems in music history, analysis, performance, culture, and other topics. The workshop is designed specifically to develop practical research skills for musicians and music scholars with little or no previous background in empirical methods.

The workshop introduces participants to a number of methods, including descriptive, exploratory and questionnaire methods, field research, interview techniques, correlational and experimental methods, hypothesis testing, theory formation, and other useful research tools and concepts. Participants will also learn how to read and critique published empirical research related to music — identifying strengths and weaknesses in individual music-related studies.

Finally, the workshop will address classic ideas in the philosophy of knowledge including postmodern critiques of empiricism. Participants will learn the advantages and disadvantages of both exploratory qualitative methods and formal quantitative methods. They will also learn the value of mixed qualitative and quantitative methods.


Target Audience

The methods and tools learned by participants will be applicable to most areas of music scholarship, including performance research, music history, music analysis, theory, music psychology, education, semiotics, music sociology & anthropology, cultural policy, and other areas.



The workshop objectives include the following:

  • to provide sufficient background so that participants will feel confident in beginning their own program of empirical music research
to communicate the main techniques and concepts in modern empirical research
to learn the do's and don'ts of designing experiments, assembling questionnaires, running human participants, and conducting interviews
  • to introduce participants to useful tools for music-related research
to provide practical research advice
to identify resources for continuing education in empirical musicology
to build critical skills when reading empirical research studies — identifying both strengths and weaknesses to stimulate participants' creative imaginations in posing and pursuing music-related questions.



The workshop objectives are pursued through a series activities including lectures and demonstrations, interspersed with twenty-four practical and group activities. Classroom activities are supplemented by readings, assignments, video materials, and follow-up online discussions.



The workshop instructor is David Huron, Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of Music at the Ohio State University. Trained as a performer with a PhD in musicology, Prof. Huron has produced more than 130 scholarly publications. In 2002 he received the Outstanding Publication Award from the Society for Music Theory. His book, Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation received the 2007 Wallace Berry Award. Among other distinctions, Prof. Huron has been the Ernest Bloch Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, the Donald Wort Lecturer at Cambridge University, and the Astor Lecturer at Oxford. Prof. Huron has delivered over 300 lectures in 25 countries, including 26 keynote conference addresses. His research has employed a wide range of methods, including perceptual and cognitive experiments, computer- based corpus studies, simulation and modelling, Internet-based surveys, and physiological and endocrine studies. In addition, his research has drawn on traditional historical, hermeneutic, and analytic methods. For the past decade, Prof. Huron has been active with ethnographic field methods, principally among various cultures in Micronesia.

Guest Lecturer: Daniel Shanahan, Assistant Professor of Music Theory, Louisiana State University



The workshop will accept 15 participants.
To apply for the workshop please send the following documents online to MEMR16.prj@aesthetics.mpg.de.

  • an up-to-date CV (PDF file)

  • grade transcripts from your Bachelor and/or Master courses (PDF file)

  • a one page letter of motivation, highlighting your interest and prior experience in the  topic (PDF file)

Selection Criteria

Participants will be selected by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics based on their academic track record (CV, grades) and their motivation to strengthen their knowledge in methods in empirical music research (letter of motivation).



The workshop will be conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Grüneburgweg 14, 60322 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Travel, Accommodation

Travel expenses and accommodation have to be booked and paid separately by workshop participants.
Please check whether you will need a visa for Germany! Applying for and obtaining the visa is in your own responsibility.


Important deadlines:

  • Latest date for application: April 10, 2016, 24h CET
  • Notification of acceptance: April 29, 2016
  • Start of workshop: July 18, 2016

For questions, please contact:

Dr. Timo Fischinger – Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, MEMR16.prj@aesthetics.mpg.de