28581 - Psychology of Music (1) (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course will outline the most recent studies on music and emotion according to philosophical, musicological, psychological, biological and anthropological perspectives. The composers, performers and listeners points of view will be taken into account. Music and emotion studies will be presented within the actual musical education context.

Course contents

Music and emotion: multidisciplinary perspectives. Psychological theories on emotion. The influence of music structure on emotional expression. Communicating emotion in music performance. Emotions in everyday listening to music. Educational perspectives


1)  P. Juslin and John Sloboda, Music and Emotion. Theory and Research, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001.

or the following readings:

1) A. Mado Proverbio, Neuroscienze cognitive della musica. Il cervello musicale tra arte e scienza, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2019.

2) R. Caterina, G. Magherini e S. Nirenstein Katz (a cura di). Crescere con la musica. Dal corpo al pensiero musicale.  Firenze: Nicomp, 2009.

3) I. Peretz, La musica e il cervello, in J. J. Nattiez (a cura di) Enciclopedia della Musica, Vol. 2, Torino: Einaudi, 2004, pp. 241-270.

4) I. Deliege, La percezione della musica, in J. J. Nattiez (a cura di) Enciclopedia della Musica, Vol. 2, Torino: Einaudi, 2004, pp. 305-334.

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures

Assessment methods

Students who regularly attend the class (the course is made of 15 lectures, students are requested to attend at least 10 lectures) will be examined in two differents steps: 1) A Small Group (from 2 to 5 people) discussion and ppt presentation on a subject which has been examined during my lectures: students are requested to bring a part of the presentation and to coordinate their presentations with those of their colleagues. Time limitations in the presentations will be fixed; the presentation may be an opportunity for a review on the existing scientific literature concerning one or more topics on music and emotion; the presentation may also concern specific theorethical hypothesis students will try to defend; 2) Individual examinations on other subjects which have been discussed during my lectures. Final individual evaluations will refer to the mean of the single tasks evaluations.

The evaluation of all these tests will be qualitative. Achieving an organic vision of the issues dealt with, the possession of expressive mastery and a specific language, the originality of reflection as well as the familiarity with the tools of analysis of psychology of music will be evaluated with excellent marks. Mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, unmanaged synthesis and analysis skills, or a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic domain of psychology of music not going further from what has already been discussed during the, will lead to good or fair evaluations. Lack of training or inappropriate language, as well as a lack of knowledge of the tools of psychology of music will lead to an evaluation that will stand on the threshold of sufficiency. Lack of training, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliography and inability to analyze the psychology of music can only be evaluated negatively

Teaching tools

Power point presentations. Musical examples. Didactic materials.

Office hours

See the website of Roberto Caterina