Modeling music listening: General considerations

Richard Ashley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of important issues in the construction of cognitive models of music listening are explored. These include the essential starting-point of the model, the kinds of abstractions a model will make, and the features of the musical experience which a model preserves and those which it obscures. A number of approaches to modeling music listening are surveyed; these include linguistically-oriented models, those based on schemata, and simulation models, including those embodied in computer programs. Three main issues concerning the development and use of a model of music listening are considered: choice of a model's formalism, choosing which elements of cognition to include in a model, and ways in which a model may be evaluated. Special attention is given to the questions raised in modeling musical processes as computer programs. A computer model of melodic learning is described and evaluated as an example of how these considerations may be addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-310
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Music Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


  • Music psychology
  • cognitive modeling
  • music listening
  • production systems
  • schema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling music listening: General considerations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this