Music & The Brain

Music in the Brain lab: Aarhus, Denmark

One of the best things about life as an academic is that you get to meet lots of lovely people from all over the world who are interested in the same types of ‘big questions’, in my case that relate to music and the mind. This week I was kindly invited to visit the Music in the Brain lab in Aarhus, Denmark to give a talk about my work with earworms. And I had a wonderul time!

Firstly, I should say that I am under quite strict instructions not to tell everybody how lovely Aarhus is – otherwise everyone might go there! I have been there 4 times now and it is a great place for a city break. On the coast, with beautiful countryside, the best sushi I have eaten anywhere, lively music scene, and the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. But, as I said, please don’t tell everyone 😉

Peter Vuust, Professor, (and amazing jazz bass player and composer) is the coordinator of Music in the Brain in Aarhus. The group contains members from several institutions in the city including:Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus: Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN): Department of Psychology, University of Aarhus: Department of Music, University of Aarhus

The Music in the Brain lab is an exciting and lively place to visit. There are a large number of PhD students, postdocs and research assistants all working on a very wide variety of interesting ‘music in the brain’ projects. For example, there is research into musical ear training for cochlear implant users (Dr Bjørn Petersen), multi-modal pitch integration (Cecilie Møller), musical competence and musical responses in autism (Line Gebauer), and so on.You can also read all about Peter Vuust’s varied publications and interests by following the links on his website. I have told him recently he is my favourite ‘man of stories’, as I love the way he talks about his research.

During my all too brief visit I also chatted to a number of students about their fascinating projects into music and animacy, cross cultural perception of surprise in music, and the nature of absolute pitch. I know these guys only by their first names so I am really sorry that I cannot list them here but if you are interested in these areas and would like to hear more than please contact Peter (pv – at- and I am sure that he will put you in touch with the relevant researcher.

So a big thanks again to my kind and generous hosts in Aarhus. I will find a way to return, for sure.


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