MUSV3120 - Music and the Brain


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2020/2021

Course content

Making and listening to music engages a large array of psychological processes. No other activity lights up the brain like music, and no other activity bring about such complex reactions in the brain: when you listen to a melody you can awaken both long gone memories, smells, strong emotions – or experience physical reactions like goose bumps, a lump in the throat or the flow of tears. This makes music an ideal entry to investigate the human brain and to subjects such as emotions, learning, socialising and memory. This course will examine different disciplines within the research field of music psychology. The lectures and following seminar will be adressing different topics every week and in all offer a broad introduction within the subject "Music and the brain". As we delve into these topics we end up with questions like "what is musicality?", "what is music?" and "why do we have music?".

We will adress this topic through lectures, in-class discussions, listening, and video.

Learning outcome

A candidate who successfully completes MUSV3120 will
- Have an increased theoretical knowledge within the different fields of music psychology presented in this course.
- Have knowledge of the various research communities and research areas within the field of music psychology.

A candidate who successfully completes MUSV3120
- can formulate their knowledge in a compelling manner in both written and spoken forms
- has the ability to transfer their knowledge to situations outside the lecture setting

General competence:
A candidate who successfully completes MUSV3120
has increased knowledge of the research field music psychology, of how music affects the human brain and how this knowledge may be of usage in many different contexts and disciplines.

Learning methods and activities

This course contains lectures and seminars in which the students are supposed to participate actively.

Students in the bachelor's programme in Musicology must choose the "bachelor's thesis" as the form of assessment in one MUSV31**-course in their third or fourth semester. The topic of the bachelor's thesis must be chosen in agreement with the course lecturer, and must be based on the course syllabus. There will be 5 hours of individual thesis supervision. The subject, plan and outline of the thesis topic must be approved by the course lecturer by mid-term, at the latest. The completed bachelor's thesis is to be 15-20 pages in length: 12 pt, 1.5 line spacing.

Specific conditions

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Music Performance (MMUSP)
Music Performance Studies (BMUSK)
Music Performance Studies (BMUSP)
Music Technology (BMUST)
Music Technology (MMUST)
Musicology (BMUSV)
Musicology (MMUSV)
Psychology (BPSY)

Required previous knowledge

Requires admission to one of the Bachelor's programmes or Master's programmes in Musicology, Music Technology or Music Performance Studies, or the Bachelor's programme in Psychology.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Musicology
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Applied Linguistics
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music



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