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, “From Ramos to Rameau: Toward the Origins of the Modern Concept of Harmony.” Journal of Music Theory 66.1 (Spring 2022): 1-42.
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. Timothy Shepherd and Sanna Raninen. Routledge, forthcoming.
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, forthcoming.
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.
David E. Cohen, “Before and After John of Garland: The Concept of Directed Dyadic Progression and Its Prehistory.” Music Theory and Analysis 7.1 (2020), 63-113. Link
David E. Cohen, “Pseudo-Plutarch, Peri mousikês.’” Entry in the Lexikon der musikalischen Schriften, edited by Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann and Felix Wörner, forthcoming.
David E. Cohen, “Christian Conrad 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, ed. 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). Musicological Brainfood 3.1 (2019), Link.
David E. Cohen, “Rhythm, Number, and Heraclitus’ River.” 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 ...
- "Rameau Before the Enlightenment: The Traité de l’harmonie and the Origins of Modern Harmonic Theory"
The great composer of the French Baroque, Jean-Philippe Rameau, was also the most influential music theorist since the Middle Ages: the inaugurator, in his epochal Traité de l’harmonie (1722) and in many subsequent writings, of the ...