Empirical Methods Workshop 2019

Methods in Empirical Music Research

A Workshop for Music Scholars

An intensive four-day workshop taught by Profs. David Huron & Daniel Shanahan

Tuesday May 14 to Friday May 17, 2019


This workshop will be of interest to anyone wishing to develop or enhance their research skills in music. Participants will learn how to design and carry out music experiments, and how to apply empirical, systematic and statistical techniques to problems in music history, analysis, performance, culture, and other topics. The workshop is designed specifically to develop practical research skills for musicians and music scholars with little or no previous background in empirical methods.

The workshop introduces participants to a number of methods, including descriptive, exploratory and questionnaire methods, field research, correlational and experimental methods, hypothesis testing, theory formation, and other useful research tools and concepts. Participants will also learn how to read and critique published empirical research related to music — identifying strengths and weaknesses in individual music-related studies.

The tools learned by participants will be applicable to most areas of music scholarship, including performance research, music history, music analysis, theory, music psychology, education, semiotics, music sociology & anthropology, cultural policy, and other areas.

Finally, the workshop will address classic ideas in the philosophy of knowledge including postmodern critiques of empiricism. Participants will learn the advantages and disadvantages of both exploratory qualitative methods and formal quantitative methods.


The workshop objectives include the following:

  • to provide sufficient background so that participants will feel
    confident in beginning their own program of empirical music research
  • to communicate the main techniques and concepts in modern empirical research
  • to learn the do’s and don’ts of designing experiments,
    assembling questionnaires, running human subjects, and conducting interviews
  • to introduce participants to useful tools for music-related research
  • to provide practical research advice
  • to identify resources for continuing education in empirical musicology
  • to build critical skills when reading empirical research studies
    — identifying both strengths and weaknesses
  • to stimulate participants creative imaginations in posing and
    pursuing musical questions.


The workshop objectives are pursued through a series of day-long activities, including lectures and demonstrations, interspersed with two dozen hands-on and group activities.


The workshop will be held over four days, from Tuesday May 14 to Friday May 17.


The workshop instructors are David Huron and Daniel Shanahan.

David Huron is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor in the School of Music at the Ohio State University. Trained as a performer with a PhD in musicology, Dr. Huron’s research has employed a wide range of methods, including perceptual and cognitive experiments, computer-based corpus studies, simulation and modeling, Internet-based surveys, and physiological and endocrine studies. In addition, his research has drawn on traditional historical,
hermeneutic, and analytic methods, as well as ethnographic field methods working in Micronesia.
Over the course of his career, he has produced 170 scholarly publications, and given over 400 lectures and presentations in 25 countries, including 28 keynote conference addresses. Dr. Huron has been the Ernest Bloch Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, the Donald Wort Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and the Astor Lecturer at Oxford. From the Society for Music Theory, he has received the Outstanding Publication Award (2002), and the Wallace
Berry Book Award (2007). In 2017 he received the Society for Music Perception and Cognition’s lifetime Achievement Award.

Daniel Shanahan is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Cognition at Ohio State University. Currently, his research focuses on musical transmission and change, and the constraints that might affect such change. He has published in many journals in the fields of Music Theory, Music Cognition, and Psychology, including Musicae Scientiae, Music Perception, Cognition and Emotion, Journal of New Music Research, and The Journal of Jazz Studies, among others. He contributed chapters to the Routledge Companion to Music Cognition, and Over and Over: Exploring Repetition in Popular Music, and has forthcoming chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Music and Corpus Studies, for which he also is serving as co-editor. He serves on the editorial boards of Musical Scientiae and Theory Review, and is currently co-editor of Empirical Musicology Review. Daniel earned his PhD from University of Dublin, Trinity College in Ireland, and has previously served on the faculty at the University of Virginia and Louisiana State University.


The registration fee for the workshop is $485 (payable via US Mail prior to May 7 or upon arrival May 14). The registration fee includes the workshop program only. Participants are responsible for their own transportation, food and accommodation.

Make your check or money order payable to “Stanton’s Sheet Music.” To ensure accurate payment processing, please print the participant’s name on the memo line of your check or money order.

Empirical Methods Workshop
The Ohio State University
School of Music
ATTN: Sarah Burson
1866 N. College Road
Columbus, OH 43210-1310


The workshop will be conducted in the School of Music on the main campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.


Accommodation is booked separately by workshop participants. Participants can choose from a variety of nearby hotels, as well as low-cost student dormitory.


For further information regarding registration and organizational matters, please contact
Nicholas Shea

For further information regarding the workshop content, please contact
David Huron