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prof. dr. Henkjan Honing

prof. dr. Henkjan Honing

Professor in Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam
Languages : English, Dutch

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  • Music cognition
  • Music and the Brain
  • Musicality

Henkjan Honing is KNAW-Muller Professor in Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and is affiliated with the Department of Musicology, the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), and the Cognitive Science Center Amsterdam (CSCA) of that University. This endowed chair is designated on behalf of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) [DAI 096739525]. Honing conducts research on the temporal aspects of music (such as rhythm, timing, and tempo),

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Henkjan Honing is KNAW-Muller Professor in Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and is affiliated with the Department of Musicology, the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), and the Cognitive Science Center Amsterdam (CSCA) of that University. This endowed chair is designated on behalf of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) [DAI 096739525]. Honing conducts research on the temporal aspects of music (such as rhythm, timing, and tempo), the role of perception, attention, expectation and memory in the process of listening to music, and studies the cognitive mechanisms underlying musicality. His research involves the use of theoretical, empirical and computational methods. "Over the years I have become more and more convinced that music research needs an interdisciplinary approach. It is my passion, expertise and mission to bring together the sciences of music, of the mind, and of computation. Many of our fundamental human abilities are used in music making, listening, and much that is going on in the world, everywhere and everywhen. In that light the study of music is no luxury at all, contributing, as it does, in an essential way to the understanding of human cognition and human nature." (2003)* Honing obtained his PhD at City University (London) in 1991 with research into the representation of time and temporal structure in music. During the period between 1992 and 1997, he worked as a KNAW Research Fellow (Academieonderzoeker) at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), where he conducted a study on the formalisation of musical knowledge. Up until 2003, he worked as a research coordinator at the Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information (NICI) where he specialised in the computational modelling of music cognition. In 2007, he was appointed Associate Professor in Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam’s Musicology capacity group. In 2010 he was awarded the KNAW-Hendrik Muller chair, designated on behalf of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He conducts his research projects under the auspices of the ILLC and the University of Amsterdam's Cognitive Science Center Amsterdam (CSCA). Honing has authored over 150 international publications in the area of music cognition and music technology. He recently published a book for the general public entitled Iedereen is muzikaal. Wat we weten over het luisteren naar muziek (Nieuw Amsterdam, 2009). It was published in English as Musical Cognition: A Science of Listening (Transaction Publishers, 2011).

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Cover van Musical Cognition

Musical Cognition

Why do people attach importance to the wordless language we call music? Musical Cognition suggests that music is a game.

ISBN: 978-1-4128-4228-0
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In music, our cognitive functions such as perception, memory, attention, and expectation are challenged; yet, as listeners, we often do not realize that the listener plays an active role in reaching the awareness that makes music so exhilarating, soothing, and inspiring. In reality, the author contends, listening does not happen in the outer world of audible sound, but in the inner world of our minds and brains.

Recent research in the areas of psychology and neuro-cognition allows Honing to be explicit in a way that many of his predecessors could not. His lucid, evocative writing style guides the reader through what is known about listening to music while avoiding jargon and technical diagrams. With clear examples, the book concentrates on underappreciated musical skills—"sense of rhythm" and "relative pitch"—skills that make us musical creatures. Research on how living creatures respond to music supports the conviction that all humans have a unique, instinctive attraction to music.

Musical Cognition includes a selection of intriguing examples from recent literature exploring the role that an implicit or explicit knowledge of music plays when one listens to it. The scope of the topics discussed ranges from the ability of newborns to perceive a beat, to the unexpected musical expertise of ordinary listeners. The evidence shows that music is second nature to most human beings—biologically and socially.

Musical Cognition
Musical Cognition
TEDxAmsterdam 2011 - Henkjan Honing
TEDxAmsterdam 2011 - Henkjan Honing