About this Course
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Approx. 14 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Skills you will gain

BiologyMusicEvolutionNeurobiology

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 14 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
19 minutes to complete

Course Introduction

Introduction to Music as Biology

...
1 video (Total 4 min), 1 reading
1 reading
A Word About the Course10m
2 hours to complete

Sound Signals, Sound Stimuli, and the Human Auditory System

An overview of the organization of the human auditory system, and how sound signals are transformed into sound stimuli.

...
4 videos (Total 36 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
4 videos
Sound Signals and Sound Stimuli5m
Tones versus Noise11m
Determining the Sources of Sound Stimuli9m
2 readings
Module Resources10m
An Overview of the Human Auditory System10m
1 practice exercise
Sound Signals, Sound Stimuli, and the Human Auditory System20m
Week
2
1 hour to complete

The Perception of Sound Stimuli

An introduction to the sound qualities we perceive, and how and why these qualities differ from the information in sound signals.

...
5 videos (Total 45 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
5 videos
Pitch and Frequency13m
Timbre and its Causes5m
Observation and Linguistics5m
Auditory Objects and Scenes5m
1 reading
Module Resources10m
1 practice exercise
The Perception of Sound Stimuli20m
Week
3
1 hour to complete

Vocalization and Vocal Tones

A discussion of the nature of vocal sound signals, their biological importance and their role in understanding music.

...
5 videos (Total 45 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
5 videos
The Perception of Vocal Sound Signals9m
The Perception of Intensity (Loudness) in Empirical Terms10m
The Perception of Frequency (Pitch) in Empirical Terms4m
Relationship of Vocalization to Music7m
1 reading
Module Resources10m
1 practice exercise
Vocalization and Vocal Tones20m
Week
4
2 hours to complete

Defining Music and Exploring Why We Like It

The tonal phenomena that need to be explained in any theory of music, and different approaches that have been take to provide answers.

...
9 videos (Total 72 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
9 videos
The Chromatic Scale and Some More Musical Terminology6m
Consonance and Dissonance6m
Tonality vs. Atonality: Frequency of Consonant vs. Dissonant Intervals4m
Tension and Resolution5m
Cadences8m
Mathematical Explanations of Consonance5m
A Physical Explanation of Consonance7m
A Biological Explanation of Consonance16m
1 reading
Module Resources10m
1 practice exercise
Defining Music and Exploring Why We Like It20m
Week
5
2 hours to complete

Musical Scales

Why a small number of basic scales are used in music worldwide, and how a biological framework explains this and related puzzles.

...
6 videos (Total 62 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
6 videos
The Small Number of Scales Used7m
Testing a Biological Explanation of Scale Preference9m
Why Is the Number of Intervals in Scales So Limited?5m
The Status of the Chromatic Scale and the Semitone in Biological Terms10m
Is Music Uniquely Human?9m
1 reading
Module Resources10m
1 practice exercise
Musical Scales20m
Week
6
3 hours to complete

Music, Emotion, and Cultural Differences

How emotion is conveyed by vocal similarity in music across cultures, and how the speech of a culture and its music are related. A summing up of the major points in the course follows.

...
7 videos (Total 65 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
7 videos
Emotions Elicited by Major versus Minor Scales14m
Comparision of Major and Minor Music with Vocalization in Different Emotional States6m
Expression of Emotion in Eastern and Western Music7m
Language, Speech, and Cultural Differences in Music19m
Mbira Music: Background and Cyclical Structures4m
Mbria Music: Nonhamronic Frequencies3m
3 readings
Module Resources10m
Mozart Variation 8, "Minor"10m
Mozart Variation 9, "Major"10m
2 practice exercises
Music, Emotion, and Cultural Differences20m
Summing Up20m
3 hours to complete

Additional Resources

Additional demonstrations and commentaries by Ruby Froom on some of the musical issues considered in the course, as well as a glossary of terms and bibliography for references.

...
6 videos (Total 38 min), 16 readings
6 videos
Derivations of the Harmonic and Melodic Minor Scales8m
Cadences8m
Berg Lieder4m
Background and Cyclical Structure4m
Nonharmonic Frequencies3m
16 readings
Mozart Theme10m
Mozart Variation 2, ornamentation10m
Mozart Variation 5, rhythmic sync10m
Mozart Variation 8, "Minor"10m
Mozart Variation 9, "Major"10m
Minor Scale Analysis in BWV 00210m
Music Theory Rules10m
BWV 002 Harmonic Analysis10m
BWV 65.2 Harmonic Analysis10m
BWV 133.6 Harmonic Analysis10m
Schliesse Mir Die Augen Beide10m
Tonal Version Sheet Music10m
Atonal Version Sheet Music10m
Glossary A-O10m
Glossary P-W10m
Bibliography10m
4.2
105 ReviewsChevron Right

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started a new career after completing these courses

33%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

22%

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Top reviews from Music as Biology: What We Like to Hear and Why

By MMSep 22nd 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.

By GGJun 11th 2017

Great course, very informative for anyone who wishes to explore deeper aspects of music that have to do with biology and psychology.

Instructor

Avatar

Dale Purves

M.D.
Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

About Duke University

Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world....

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