Music and Forms of Attention

Conveners: Carmel Raz and Francesca Brittan

In recent years, attention has emerged as a central concern for many scholars across the humanities. Much of this interest stems from the so-called “cognitive turn,” which has led to the development of new interpretative frameworks —including cognitive historicism, cognitive poetics, and cognitive literary theory— based on historical and contemporary sciences of mind. An additional factor may be the overwhelming modern-day concern with attention and its deficits, frequently theorized either as a neural disorder or a consequence of encroaching technological environments. In light of the widespread interdisciplinary interest in the mental states of focus and distraction, the “Music and Forms of Attention” Working Group aims to take stock of current approaches to attention and its histories, and to consider how scholars of music and sound can contribute to related conversations throughout the humanities.


December 12-13, 2022: Workshop, "The Attentive Ear: Sound, Cognition, and Subjectivity, 1800-1930"

November 13-16, 2022:  "A Long Perspective on Music and Attention: From Liturgical Listening to the Neural Orchestra" Panel at AMS 2022

August  5-6, 2021: Workshop, “Attention, Cognition, and the Auditory Self, 1770-1920”