Main research areas
- Concepts of harmony, consonance and dissonance, and polyphony
- Pre-modern theories of the power of music to alter emotional states
- Descartes’ Cogito in the context of speculative music theory
- The concept of the note as the “element” of music
- Pythagoreanism and its vicissitudes
|1983-1993||Ph.D., Musicology (Music Theory), Brandeis University|
|1982||B.A., Music (Summa cum Laude), State University of New York at Stony Brook|
|Since 2018||Senior Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics|
|2017-2018||Visiting Scholar, The Center for Science and Society at Columbia University|
|2013-2016||Adjunct Associate Professor of Music, Columbia University|
|2012-2013||Visiting Professor of Music, McGill University, Montreal, Canada|
|2002-2011||Associate Professor of Music, Columbia University|
|Fall 2009||Visiting Professor of Music, Yale University|
|1995-2002||Assistant Professor of Music, Harvard University|
|1993-1994||Visiting Assistant Professor of Music, Harvard University|
|1992-1995||Assistant Professor of Music, Tufts University|
|1990-1992||Instructor in Music, Tufts University|
|1989-1990||Lecturer in Music, Brandeis University|
|1986-1987||Lecturer in Music, State University of New York at Stony Brook|
David E. Cohen, “Karl Philipp Moritz, ‘Die Wirkungen der äussern Sinne in psychologischer Rücksicht: Über das musikalische Gehör’”* (*co-authored with Carmel Raz). Entry in the Lexikon der musikalischen Schriften, edited by Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann and Felix Wörner, forthcoming.
David E. Cohen, “Going Global, in Theory,”* (*co-authored with Carmel Raz, Roger M. Grant, Andrew Hicks, Nathan J. Martin, Caleb Mutch, Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann, Felix Wörner and Anna Zayaruznaya), invited essay for the International Musicological Society’s newsletter, forthcoming.
David E. Cohen, “Rhythm, Number, and Heraclitus’ River,” invited essay for the AMS / SMT History of Music Theory SG/IG blog, August 22, 2018. goo.gl/odoxKi
David E. Cohen, “Rousseau as Music Theorist: Harmony, Mode, and (L’Unité de) Mélodie.” Journal of the American Musicological Society Vol. 66, No. 1 (Spring 2013): pp. 75-80.
David E. Cohen, “Notes, Scales, and Modes in the Middle Ages.” In The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Christensen (Cambridge University Press, 2002): pp. 307-63.
David E. Cohen, “‘The Imperfect Seeks Its Perfection’: Harmonic Progression, Directed Motion, and Aristotelian Physics.” Music Theory Spectrum 23.2 (Fall, 2001): pp. 139-69. *Awarded the Society for Music Theory's 2003 Outstanding Publication Award
David E. Cohen, “The ‘Gift of Nature’: Musical ‘Instinct’ and Musical Cognition in Rameau.” In Music Theory and Natural Order, ed. Suzannah Clark and Alexander Rehding. Cambridge University Press, 2001.
David E. Cohen, Review of Raymond Erickson, ed. and trans., Music enchiriadis and Scolica enchiriadis. In Speculum, vol. 74 (1999): pp. 1056-57.
David E. Cohen, “Metaphysics, Ideology, Discipline: The Concept of Organum and the Tradition of Western Polyphony,” Theoria 7 (1993): pp. 1-85. (Appeared 1995.)
- "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 ...
- "The End of Pythagoreanism: Music Theory, Philosophy, and Science from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment"
The core beliefs of “Pythagoreanism”—that the order of our finite cosmos is provided by simple numerical ratios and proportions, and that these exercise a causal effect on the natural world, including the human organism, while ...