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The Ohio State University

School of Music

Methods in Empirical Music Research

An intensive four-day workshop taught by Prof. David Huron

Tuesday May 15 to Friday May 18, 2018



This workshop will be of interest to anyone wishing to expand or enhance their research skills in music.

Participants will learn how to design and carry out music experiments, and how to apply empirical, systematic and statistical techniques to music-related problems. The workshop is designed specifically to develop practical research skills for musicians and music scholars with little or no previous background in empirical methods.

In this workshop you will be introduced to:

  • descriptive, exploratory, and questionnaire methods
  • field research, including interview techniques
  • correlational and experimental methods
  • research design & introductory statistics
  • theory formation and hypothesis testing

The methods and tools learned by participants will be applicable to most areas of music scholarship, including performance research, music history, music analysis, theory, music psychology, education, semiotics, music sociology & anthropology, cultural policy, and other areas. Participants will also learn how to read and critique published empirical research related to music — identifying strengths and weaknesses in individual music-related studies.


The workshop is limited to 15 participants. Due to limited space, participants are selected in advance. Applications are welcome from faculty, post-doctoral scholars, graduate students, as well as senior undergradate students. The application consists simply of a personal narrative not to exceed one page describing the applicant's background and interests. Selection is based on ensuring a balance of interests, backgrounds, and need. An application narrative should be sent by email to Sarah Bishop (bishop.585@osu.edu) by March 31, 2018. Applicants will be notified of their status by April 2.


The registration fee for the workshop is $475, payable via mail prior to May 8 or upon arrival May 15. The registration fee includes the workshop program only. Participants are responsible for their own transportation, accommodation, and food. Make your check or money order payable to "Stanton's Sheet Music Co." To ensure accurate payment processing, please print the participant's name on the memo line of your check or money order. Mail to:

Empirical Methods Workshop
School of Music
Ohio State University
1866 N. College Road
Columbus, OH 43210-1310


Accommodation is booked separately by workshop participants. Several hotels are located nearby, including a hotel on campus. Participants can also take advantage of low-cost student dormitory accommodation with a choice of air conditioned or non-AC rooms. Up-to-date details regarding accommodation are available by writing to bishop.585@osu.edu


In addition to workshops taught in Columbus, Ohio, previous workshop have also been held at the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, Denmark (2009), Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, Tartu, Estonia (2013), and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany (2016).


The workshop instructor is David Huron, Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of Music at the Ohio State University. Trained as a performer with a PhD in musicology, Dr. Huron has produced over 150 scholarly publications, receiving more than 5,000 citations. In 2002 he received the Outstanding Publication Award from the Society for Music Theory. His book, Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation received the 2007 Wallace Berry Award. Among other distinctions, Dr. Huron has been the Ernest Bloch Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, the Donald Wort Lecturer at Cambridge University, and the Astor Lecturer at Oxford. Dr. Huron has delivered over 400 lectures in 25 countries, including 28 keynote conference addresses. His research has employed a wide range of methods, including perceptual and cognitive experiments, computer-based corpus studies, simultation and modeling, Internet-based surveys, and physiological and endocrine studies. In addition, his research has drawn on traditional historical, hermanuetic, and analytic methods, as well as qualitative ethnographic field methods conducted in various regions of the world.


The workshop objectives include the following:

  • to provide sufficient background so that participants will feel confident in beginning their own program of empirical music research
  • to communicate the main techniques and concepts in modern empirical research
  • to learn the do's and don'ts of designing experiments, assembling questionnaires, running human participants, and conducting interviews
  • to introduce participants to useful tools for music-related research
  • to provide practical research advice
  • to identify resources for continuing education in empirical musicology
  • to build critical skills when reading empirical research studies — identifying both strengths and weaknesses
  • to stimulate participants creative imaginations in posing and pursuing musical questions.

The workshop objectives are pursued through a series of activities, including lectures and demonstrations, interspersed with some twenty hands-on and group activities. Classroom activities are supplemented by readings, assignments, video materials, and follow-up discussions.


The workshop will be conducted in the School of Music on the main campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.


A sample of past participant testimonials from anonymous feedback:

"I think that the way of presenting the course content was extraordinary. It makes seemingly heavy material more easily understood."

"Huron explains things very, very well. For me, all the information was very new, so I learned a ton."

"David Huron is radiant, both emotionally and intellectually His teaching style and enthusiasm are contagious and resonate with those who are equally passionate."

"I am now feeling inspired to connect with some colleagues at my university and get them into some research projects with me! Thanks for offering this!"

"What an eye-opening week!"


For further information regarding applications, registration, accommodation and organizational matters, contact Sarah Bishop (bishop.585@osu.edu).

For further information regarding the workshop content contact Dr. David Huron (huron.1@osu.edu).