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Back to Music as Biology: What We Like to Hear and Why

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Music as Biology: What We Like to Hear and Why by Duke University

623 ratings
161 reviews

About the Course

The course will explore the tone combinations that humans consider consonant or dissonant, the scales we use, and the emotions music elicits, all of which provide a rich set of data for exploring music and auditory aesthetics in a biological framework. Analyses of speech and musical databases are consistent with the idea that the chromatic scale (the set of tones used by humans to create music), consonance and dissonance, worldwide preferences for a few dozen scales from the billions that are possible, and the emotions elicited by music in different cultures all stem from the relative similarity of musical tonalities and the characteristics of voiced (tonal) speech. Like the phenomenology of visual perception, these aspects of auditory perception appear to have arisen from the need to contend with sensory stimuli that are inherently unable to specify their physical sources, leading to the evolution of a common strategy to deal with this fundamental challenge....

Top reviews

May 16, 2020

This course helped me to see music from a different angle i.e through history and biology. Prof. Dales is a wonderful human being and has a beautiful gift of explaining things in a much simpler way.

Sep 21, 2016

This course has helped me to understand biological psychology of humans towards music. Based on this knowledge i am confident to create music which will seem good to the ears of humans.

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76 - 100 of 159 Reviews for Music as Biology: What We Like to Hear and Why

By Valeria S

Aug 9, 2016

Excellent course!

By David A M

Sep 3, 2020

Excelente curso.

By Harini

Jul 2, 2020

It's very useful

By Julio C G L

Aug 9, 2017

Excelente curso.

By Praveen K

Jul 26, 2017

A great Course !


Feb 2, 2021

Great content .


May 6, 2020

Great for me.

By Alfonso B

Mar 6, 2020

very helpful

By Natouchka M F

Feb 25, 2020

Excellent 🤩

By Sarah G d S

Oct 3, 2018


By Krisztian H

Jun 13, 2017

Very good!

By Juanjo R C

Dec 6, 2017

Genial :)

By Juan A C B

Nov 30, 2017


By Hooman S

Mar 24, 2016


By Camila P

Sep 8, 2020


By Miguel Á T

Jun 24, 2018


By Taozheng Z

Jul 12, 2021


By Yana Y

Apr 28, 2020

The course was very interesting and created for me a new way of thinking about music. However some subjects were very difficult for me to understand. In simple words - things which I didn't know before (biology) I could hardly follow. And also the music theory - if I wasn't a professional musician, I couldn't have understood the explanations. I understood them, because I knew them.

By David B

Aug 3, 2016

Interesting and well presented. I completed the entire course, all lectures and assignments. However, week 1 is persistently listed as "overdue" even though it was actually completed ahead of time. Please remove from the "overdue" status which incessantly prompts me to join an upcoming new session. I enjoyed the course but this technical snafu is annoying.

By john d

Oct 19, 2018

I enjoyed the course even though it seemed to raise as many questions about music as it answered. As a song writer, I am constantly searching for that special melody which combines both voice and guitar, a combination not mentioned in the course. It seems like voice and music instruments for a unique relationship in music that I love.

By Tim M

Dec 21, 2016

A well presented course introducing good background material regarding the physiology of human sound perception. It loses marks from me because of its seemingly obsessive fixation on the vocalization similarity hypothesis as the basis for aesthetic preference in music without a rigorous presentation of supporting evidence.

By Helen W

Jun 23, 2020

As a student currently studying music, I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It has given me a greater understanding of why we enjoy music from a perceptive that is not usually covered from a musicians perspective. I am sure that this will make me consider many things differently in the future.

By Ana L M T

Oct 16, 2017

Para una persona que se dedica a la educación musical, este curso es de suma importancia , muestra las cuestiones biológicas que son el punto de partida para aprender sobre este maravilloso arte, esta completísimo y explicado de forma progresiva.

By Didier J

Apr 6, 2018

Musica como biología....Esperaba más biología. Como y porque nos afecta la música y como podemos utilizarla para sonoterapia. En términos generales, musica como biología es un buen inicio para tomar conocimientos del tema. Gracias.

By Nathan W

Mar 9, 2021

An interesting and thought-provoking course that looks at the link between music and biology. Some of the questions and answers in the quizzes could be improved on in my opinion, but overall I enjoyed the content of the course.