Research Group Histories of Music, Mind, and Body

The complex cognitive and social mechanisms responsible for human musical behavior are topics of great interest to scientific disciplines such as psychology and neuroscience. Many of the concepts with which these disciplines operate, however, are inheritances of past musical practices and theories, some of them centuries old, and many of them tied to particular cultures and ways of thought. The goal of the “Histories of Music, Mind, and Body” Research Group is to investigate the ways in which scientists, practitioners, and the public have thought, and still think, about music: its component elements, its structures and conventions, and its corporeal, emotional, and aesthetic effects. Departing from traditional musicological approaches which often consider these features individually, we triangulate between histories of music, mind, and body to illuminate the conceptual lineages of the ideas about music which continue to influence research in music cognition today.


    "Music, Mind, and Body, 1650-1900"

    This project traces the role of music in theories of the mind and body, as well as the ways in which understandings of the mind and body have been historically applied to explain the effects of music during the period bookended by Descartes and Charcot.


    Thinking Music: Global Sources for the History of Music Theory

    This anthology aims to capture the range and variety of human music theorizing by offering excerpts (with commentary) of more than three hundred documents selected from across the world’s musical traditions. 


    "The Hammers and the Bow: Western Polyphony, the Metaphysics of Unity, and the Concept of Harmony"

    Heraclitus, invoking the tensed string of a bow, conceived harmony as the stasis and equilibrium of conflicting forces held in continuing tension. Plato in the Symposium rejects this view in favor of a concept of harmony in which all conflict must already have been resolved.


    "Hearing with the Mind: Proto-Cognitive Music Theory in the Scottish Enlightenment"

    This book synthesizes two of the most exciting current approaches to music: cognitive psychology and social history, by focusing on the remarkable work of John Holden (1729-1772).


    Database of Sources in the History of Music Theory

    This open-access database features digitized original-language versions of all of the music-theoretical sources included in the Global Anthology of Sources in the History of Music Theory, and will then gradually expand to include sources beyond the reader.  


    Afterlives of Pythagoreanism: Musica theorica and Its Legacy

    This book examines  the dissolution, and at the same time some especially noteworthy ramifications, of speculative music theory in the Pythagorean style, the central component of what the Middle Ages and Renaissance called musica theorica


    Lecture Series

    Title: Tntesean as theorist: hypotheses and heuristics for the construction of hymnal melodies in nineteenth-century Constantinople


    Sean Colonna (Columbia University) will give a talk entitled "On Trunksucht and Sehnsucht: Addiction, Longing, and Early Romantic Subjectivity "


     Dr. Burstein (CUNY Graduate Center) will give a talk entitled "Points and Resting Points" 



    At the 2024 annual meeting of the Society for Musik Theory in Jacksonville, Florida [more]

    at the  “Pouvoirs de l’imagination. Approches historiques” workshop at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociale Paris  [more]

    at the “Extremes of Attention and Distraction” Workshop at the Warburg Institute, London  [more]

    at the 2023 Annual meeting of the Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, Saarbrücken  [more]


    Talking with host Bruce Triggs about the accordion's surprising role in Victorian spiritualism.


    In a piece on the origins of the glass harmonica's purported effects on the nerves. Read more here


    Raz was interviewed on BBC Radio 3 again, this time about her research on Scottish Music Theory. Catch the feature here.



    Dr. Carmel Raz

    Research Group Histories of Music, Mind, and Body

    Research Group Leader

    +49 69 8300479-810


    Senior Research Scientist David Cohen

    Dr. David Cohen

    Research Group Histories of Music, Mind, and Body

    Senior Research Scientist

    +49 69 8300479-811


    Caleb Mutch

    Dr. Caleb Mutch

    Research Group Histories of Music, Mind, and Body

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    +49 69 8300479-812



    Diana Gleiß

    Diana Gleiß

    Administration; Research Groups


    +49 69 8300479-801


    Guest Researchers

    June 2021 – present

    Prof. Marc Perlman (Brown University)

    October 2019 – July 2020:

    Prof. Thomas Christensen (University of Chicago)

    August – October 2018:

    Prof. Nathan Martin (University of Michigan)


    James Grande and Carmel Raz, eds. Sound and Sense in British Romanticism. Cambridge University Press, 2023.        Link

    David E. Cohen, “‘A Body Composed of Many Parts’: The Concept of Harmony in Leonardo da Vinci’s Paragone.” Music and Visual Culture in Renaissance Italy, ed. Chriscinda Henry and Tim Shephard. Routledge, 2023. DOI : 10.4324 / 9781003029380-3.         Link

    Russell O'Rourke, “Armida on the Beach: A Cinquecento Rhetorical Model of the Emotions and its Musical Reception. Forthcoming, Journal of the American Musicological Society 76.3

    Carmel Raz, “Hector Berlioz’s  Neurophysiological Imagination.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 75.1 (2022): 1-37.           Link

    David E. Cohen, “Melodia and the 'Disposition of the Soul': Giulio Cesare Monteverdi’s ‘Platonic’ Defense of the Seconda Pratica. Journal of Musicology 39.2 (2022): 180-209.        Link

    Caleb Mutch, “‘Something Else is Possible’: Transcultural Collaboration as Anti-Apartheid Activism in the Music of Juluka.” Popular Music 44.2 doi:10.1017/S026114302100043X      Link

    Carmel Raz, “Sound Minds and Tuning Forks: Neuroscience’s Vibratory Histories,” in The Science-Music Borderlands: Reckoning with the Past and Imagining the Future, ed. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Psyche Loui, and Deirdre Loughridge. MIT Press, 115-129.

    David E. Cohen, “From Ramos to Rameau: Toward the Origins of the Modern Concept of Harmony.”  Journal of Music Theory 66,1 (Spring 2022): 1-42.      Link

    Caleb Mutch, “How the Triad Took (a) Root,” Journal of Music Theory 66.1 (Spring 2022): 43-62.         Link

    Carmel Raz, “‘To ‘Fill Up, Completely, the Whole Capacity of the Mind’: Listening with Attention in Late Eighteenth-Century Scotland.” Music Theory Spectrum 44.1 (2022): 141-154.           Link.

    David E. Cohen, “‘Latet discordantia quartae’: An Early Natural-Scientific Explanation of Upper-Voice Fourths.” Music and Science from Leonardo to Galileo, ed. Victor Coelho and Rudolf Rasch. Brepols, 3-19.       Link

    Carmel Raz, “The Kinetic Universe of Philippe Leroux’s De La Texture (2007):  Drum Rudiments, Waveform Profiles, and Process Polyphony.”  Music Theory & Analysis 8.2 (2021): 327-340.         Link

    Caleb Mutch, “Canons and Contestable Cadences in Brahms’s Op. 118 No. 4.” Music Theory & Analysis 8.1 (2021), 143-151.       Link

    Carmel Raz, “Séances, “Sperrits,” and Self-Playing Accordions: Musical Instruments in Victorian Spiritualism.”  Journal of Musicology 38.2 (2021).        Link

    Carmel Raz, “How the Sheng became a Harp,” Journal of Sound Studies 6.2 (2020): 239–56. DOI: 10.1080/20551940.2020.1794648        Link.

    David E. Cohen, “Before and After John of Garland: The Concept of Directed Dyadic Progression and Its Prehistory.” Music Theory & Analysis 7.1 (2020), 63-113.      Link

    Carmel Raz and Francesca Brittan, “Attention, Anxiety, and Audition’s Histories,”  introduction to colloquy on “Music and Forms of Attention in the Long Nineteenth Century.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 72.2 (2019), 541–546.        Link.

    Carmel Raz, “Talking to the Hand: The “Hysterical Epistemology” of the Migrating Sensorium.” Colloquy on “Music and Forms of Attention in the Long Nineteenth Century.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 72.2 (2019), 552–557.        Link.

    Carmel Raz, “Operatic Fantasies in Early Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry.” In Nineteenth-Century Opera and the Scientific Imagination, ed. David Trippett and Benjamin Walton. Cambridge University Press, 2019, 63–83.        Link.

    Carmel Raz, “Music of the Squares: David Ramsay Hay and the Reinvention of Pythagorean Aesthetics,” Public Domain Review, May 16, 2019.        Link.

    Carmel Raz, David E. Cohen, Roger M. Grant, Andrew Hicks, Nathan J. Martin, Caleb Mutch, Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann, Felix Wörner, and Anna Zayaruznaya, “Going Global, in Theory,” Musicological  Brainfood  3.1 (2019).         Link.

    Carmel Raz and Stanley Finger, “Musical Glasses, Metal Reeds, and Broken Hearts: Two Cases of Melancholia Treated by New Musical Instruments.” In The Routledge Companion to Music, Mind and Wellbeing: Historical and Scientific Perspectives, ed. Penelope Gouk, Jacomien Prins, Wiebke Thormaehlen, and James Kennaway.  Routledge, 2018, 77–92.        Link

    Carmel Raz, “An Eighteenth-Century Theory of Musical Cognition? John Holden’s Essay Toward a Rational System of Music (1770),” Journal of Music Theory 62.2 (October, 2018): 205–248.       Link

    Carmel Raz, “Anne Young’s Introduction to Music (1803): Pedagogical, Speculative, and Ludic Music Theory,” SMT-V: Videocast Journal of the Society for Music Theory 4.3 (October, 2018).       Link

    Carmel Raz, “Anne Young’s Musical Games (1801): Music Theory, Gender, and Game Design,” SMT-V: Videocast Journal of the Society for Music Theory 4.2 (September, 2018).      Link

    David E. Cohen, “Rhythm, Number, and Heraclitus' River,” AMS / SMT History of Music Theory Blog, August 2018.       Link