research questions about music

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The Top 10 Most Interesting Music Research Topics

Music is a vast and ever-growing field. Because of this, it can be challenging to find excellent music research topics for your essay or thesis. Although there are many examples of music research topics online, not all are appropriate.

This article covers all you need to know about choosing suitable music research paper topics. It also provides a clear distinction between music research questions and topics to help you get started.

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What makes a strong music research topic.

A strong music research topic must be short, straightforward, and easy to grasp. The primary aim of music research is to apply various research methods to provide valuable insights into a particular subject area. Therefore, your topic must also address issues that are relevant to present-day readers.

Also, for your research topic to be compelling, it should not be overly generic. Try to avoid topics that seem to be too broad. A strong research topic is always narrow enough to draw out a comprehensive and relevant research question.

Tips for Choosing a Music Research Topic

  • Check with your supervisor. In some cases, your school or supervisor may have specific requirements for your research. For example, some music programs may favor a comparative instead of a descriptive or correlational study. Knowing what your institution demands is essential in choosing an appropriate research topic.
  • Explore scientific papers. Journal articles are a great way to find the critical areas of interest in your field of study. You can choose from a wide range of journals such as The Journal of Musicology and The Journal of the Royal Musical Association . These resources can help determine the direction of your research.
  • Determine your areas of interest. Choosing a topic you have a personal interest in will help you stay motivated. Researching music-related subjects is a painstakingly thorough process. A lack of motivation would make it difficult to follow through with your research and achieve optimal results.
  • Confirm availability of data sources. Not all music topics are researchable. Before selecting a topic, you must be sure that there are enough primary and secondary data sources for your research. You also need to be sure that you can carry out your research with tested and proven research methods.
  • Ask your colleagues: Asking questions is one of the many research skills you need to cultivate. A short discussion or brainstorming session with your colleagues or other music professionals could help you identify a suitable topic for your research paper.

What’s the Difference Between a Research Topic and a Research Question?

A research topic is a particular subject area in a much wider field that a researcher chooses to place his emphasis on. Most subjects are extensive. So, before conducting research, a researcher must first determine a suitable area of interest that will act as the foundation for their investigation.

Research questions are drawn from research topics. However, research questions are usually more streamlined. While research topics can take a more generic viewpoint, research questions further narrow the focus down to specific case studies or seek to draw a correlation between two or more datasets.

How to Create Strong Music Research Questions

Strong music research questions must be relevant and specific. Music is a broad field with many genres and possible research areas. However, your research question must focus on a single subject matter and provide valuable insights. Also, your research question should be based on parameters that can be quantified and studied using available research methods.

Top 10 Music Research Paper Topics

1. understanding changes in music consumption patterns.

Although several known factors affect how people consume music, there is still a significant knowledge gap regarding how these factors influence listening choices. Your music research paper could outline some of these factors that affect music consumer behavior and highlight their mechanism of action.

2. Hip-hop Culture and Its Effect on Teenage Behavior

In 2020, hip-hop and RnB had the highest streaming numbers , according to Statista. Without a doubt, hip-hop music has had a significant influence on the behavior of young adults. There is still the need to conduct extensive research on this subject to determine if there is a correlation between hip-hop music and specific behavioral patterns, especially among teenagers.

3. The Application of Music as a Therapeutic Tool

For a long time, music has been used to manage stress and mental health disorders like anxiety, PTSD, and others. However, the role of music in clinical treatment still remains a controversial topic. Further research is required to separate fact from fiction and provide insight into the potential of music therapy.

4. Contemporary Rock Music and Its Association With Harmful Social Practices

Rock music has had a great influence on American culture since the 1950s. Since its rise to prominence, it has famously been associated with vices such as illicit sex and abuse of recreational drugs. An excellent research idea could be to evaluate if there is a robust causal relationship between contemporary rock music and adverse social behaviors.

5. The Impact of Streaming Apps on Global Music Consumption

Technology has dramatically affected the music industry by modifying individual music consumption habits. Presently, over 487 million people subscribe to a digital streaming service, according to Statista. Your research paper could examine how much of an influence popular music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have had on how we listen to music.

6. Effective American Music Education Practices

Teaching practices have always had a considerable impact on students’ academic success. However, not all strategies have an equal effect in enhancing learning experiences for students. You can conduct comparative research on two or more American music education practices and evaluate their impact on learning outcomes.

7. The Evolution of Music Production in the Technology-driven Era

One of the aspects of music that is experiencing a massive change is sound production. More than ever before, skilled, tech-savvy music producers are in high demand. At the moment, music producers earn about $70,326 annually, according to ZipRecruiter. So, your research could focus on the changes in music production techniques since the turn of the 21st century.

8. Jazz Music and Its Influence on Western Music Genres

The rich history of jazz music has established it as one of the most influential genres of music since the 19th century. Over the years, several famous composers and leading voices across many other western music genres have been shaped by jazz music’s sound and culture. You could carry out research on the influence of this genre of music on modern types of music.

9. The Effect of Wars on Music

Wars have always brought about radical changes in several aspects of culture, including music styles. Throughout history, we have witnessed wars result in the death of famous musicians. If you are interested in learning about music history in relation to global events, a study on the impact of wars on music will make an excellent music research paper.

10. African Tribal Percussion

African music is well recognized for its unique application of percussion. Historically, several tribes and cultures had their own percussion instruments and original methods of expression. Unfortunately, this musical style has mainly gone undocumented. An in-depth study into ancient African tribal percussion would make a strong music research paper.

Other Examples of Music Research Topics & Questions

Music research topics.

  • Popular musical styles of the 20th century
  • The role of musical pieces in political movements
  • Biographies of influential musicians during the baroque period
  • The influence of classical music on modern-day culture
  • The relationship between music and fashion

Music Research Questions

  • What is the relationship between country music and conservationist ideologies among middle-aged American voters?
  • What is the effect of listening to Chinese folk music on the critical thinking skills of high school students?
  • How have electronic music production technologies influenced the sound quality of contemporary music?
  • What is the correlation between punk music and substance abuse among Black-American males?
  • How does background music affect learning and information retention in children?

Choosing the Right Music Research Topic

Your research topic is the foundation on which every other aspect of your study is built. So, you must select a music research topic that gives you room to adequately explore intriguing hypotheses and, if possible, proffer practically applicable solutions.

Also, if you seek to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Music , you must be prepared to conduct research during your study. Choosing the right music research topic is the first step in guaranteeing good grades and delivering relevant, high-quality contributions in this constantly expanding field.

Music Research Topics FAQ

A good music research topic should be between 10 to 12 words long. Long, wordy music essay topics are usually confusing. They can make it difficult for readers to understand the goal of your research. Avoid using lengthy phrases or vague terms that could confuse the reader.

Journal articles are the best place to find helpful resources for your music research. You can explore reputable, high-impact journal articles to see if any research has been done related to your chosen topic. Journal articles also help to provide data for comparison while carrying out your research.

Primary sources carry out their own research and cite their own data. In contrast, secondary sources report data obtained from a primary source. Although primary sources are regarded as more credible, you can include a good mixture of primary and secondary sources in your research.

The most common research methods for music research are qualitative, quantitative, descriptive, and analytical. Your research strategy is arguably the most crucial part of your study. You must learn different research methods to determine which one would be the perfect fit for your particular research question.

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  • A Research Guide
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120 Music Research Paper Topics

How to choose a topic for music research paper:.

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Music Theory Research Paper Topics:

  • The influence of harmonic progression on emotional response in music
  • Analyzing the use of chromaticism in the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach
  • The role of rhythm and meter in creating musical tension and release
  • Examining the development of tonality in Western classical music
  • Exploring the impact of cultural and historical context on musical form and structure
  • Investigating the use of polyphony in Renaissance choral music
  • Analyzing the compositional techniques of minimalist music
  • The relationship between melody and harmony in popular music
  • Examining the influence of jazz improvisation on contemporary music
  • The role of counterpoint in the compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Investigating the use of microtonality in experimental music
  • Analyzing the impact of technology on music composition and production
  • The influence of musical modes on the development of different musical genres
  • Exploring the use of musical symbolism in film scoring
  • Investigating the role of music theory in the analysis and interpretation of non-Western music

Music Industry Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of streaming services on music consumption patterns
  • The role of social media in promoting and marketing music
  • The effects of piracy on the music industry
  • The influence of technology on music production and distribution
  • The relationship between music and mental health
  • The evolution of music genres and their impact on the industry
  • The economics of live music events and festivals
  • The role of record labels in shaping the music industry
  • The impact of globalization on the music industry
  • The representation and portrayal of gender in the music industry
  • The effects of music streaming platforms on artist revenue
  • The role of music education in fostering talent and creativity
  • The influence of music videos on audience perception and engagement
  • The impact of music streaming on physical album sales
  • The role of music in advertising and brand marketing

Music Therapy Research Paper Topics:

  • The effectiveness of music therapy in reducing anxiety in cancer patients
  • The impact of music therapy on improving cognitive function in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Exploring the use of music therapy in managing chronic pain
  • The role of music therapy in promoting emotional well-being in children with autism spectrum disorder
  • Music therapy as a complementary treatment for depression: A systematic review
  • The effects of music therapy on stress reduction in pregnant women
  • Examining the benefits of music therapy in improving communication skills in individuals with developmental disabilities
  • The use of music therapy in enhancing motor skills rehabilitation after stroke
  • Music therapy interventions for improving sleep quality in patients with insomnia
  • Exploring the impact of music therapy on reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • The role of music therapy in improving social interaction and engagement in individuals with schizophrenia
  • Music therapy as a non-pharmacological intervention for managing symptoms of dementia
  • The effects of music therapy on pain perception and opioid use in hospitalized patients
  • Exploring the use of music therapy in promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety during surgical procedures
  • The impact of music therapy on improving quality of life in individuals with Parkinson’s disease

Music Psychology Research Paper Topics:

  • The effects of music on mood and emotions
  • The role of music in enhancing cognitive abilities
  • The impact of music therapy on mental health disorders
  • The relationship between music and memory recall
  • The influence of music on stress reduction and relaxation
  • The psychological effects of different genres of music
  • The role of music in promoting social bonding and cohesion
  • The effects of music on creativity and problem-solving abilities
  • The psychological benefits of playing a musical instrument
  • The impact of music on motivation and productivity
  • The psychological effects of music on physical exercise performance
  • The role of music in enhancing learning and academic performance
  • The influence of music on sleep quality and patterns
  • The psychological effects of music on individuals with autism spectrum disorder
  • The relationship between music and personality traits

Music Education Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of music education on cognitive development in children
  • The effectiveness of incorporating technology in music education
  • The role of music education in promoting social and emotional development
  • The benefits of music education for students with special needs
  • The influence of music education on academic achievement
  • The importance of music education in fostering creativity and innovation
  • The relationship between music education and language development
  • The impact of music education on self-esteem and self-confidence
  • The role of music education in promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity
  • The effects of music education on students’ overall well-being and mental health
  • The significance of music education in developing critical thinking skills
  • The role of music education in enhancing students’ teamwork and collaboration abilities
  • The impact of music education on students’ motivation and engagement in school
  • The effectiveness of different teaching methods in music education
  • The relationship between music education and career opportunities in the music industry

Music History Research Paper Topics:

  • The influence of African music on the development of jazz in the United States
  • The role of women composers in classical music during the 18th century
  • The impact of the Beatles on the evolution of popular music in the 1960s
  • The cultural significance of hip-hop music in urban communities
  • The development of opera in Italy during the Renaissance
  • The influence of folk music on the protest movements of the 1960s
  • The role of music in religious rituals and ceremonies throughout history
  • The evolution of electronic music and its impact on contemporary music production
  • The contribution of Latin American musicians to the development of salsa music
  • The influence of classical music on film scores in the 20th century
  • The role of music in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
  • The development of reggae music in Jamaica and its global impact
  • The influence of Mozart’s compositions on the classical music era
  • The role of music in the French Revolution and its impact on society
  • The evolution of punk rock music and its influence on alternative music genres

Music Sociology Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of music streaming platforms on the music industry
  • The role of music in shaping cultural identity
  • Gender representation in popular music: A sociological analysis
  • The influence of social media on music consumption patterns
  • Music festivals as spaces for social interaction and community building
  • The relationship between music and political activism
  • The effects of globalization on local music scenes
  • The role of music in constructing and challenging social norms
  • The impact of technology on music production and distribution
  • Music and social movements: A comparative study
  • The role of music in promoting social change and social justice
  • The influence of socioeconomic factors on music taste and preferences
  • The role of music in constructing and reinforcing gender stereotypes
  • The impact of music education on social and cognitive development
  • The relationship between music and mental health: A sociological perspective

Classical Music Research Paper Topics:

  • The influence of Ludwig van Beethoven on the development of classical music
  • The role of women composers in classical music history
  • The impact of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions on future generations
  • The evolution of opera in the classical period
  • The significance of Mozart’s symphonies in the classical era
  • The influence of nationalism on classical music during the Romantic period
  • The portrayal of emotions in classical music compositions
  • The use of musical forms and structures in the works of Franz Joseph Haydn
  • The impact of the Industrial Revolution on the production and dissemination of classical music
  • The relationship between classical music and dance in the Baroque era
  • The role of patronage in the development of classical music
  • The influence of folk music on classical composers
  • The representation of nature in classical music compositions
  • The impact of technological advancements on classical music performance and recording
  • The exploration of polyphony in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach

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Best 100 music research topics (just updated).

music research topics

If you are reading this, you are probably looking for the best music research topics for your next essay. Truth be told, choosing the right topic is very important. It can make the difference between a B and an A, or even between an A and an A+. Unfortunately, choosing the best topics is not as simple as you think. Even though the internet is full of music research topics, most of them are plain and, quite frankly, boring.

Your professor wants more than this. Let’s see why you need the most interesting topics and where you can find them. Of course, you are free to use any of our 100 topics for free and even reword them as you see fit. Read on!

Choosing Good Music Research Topics

By now, you are probably wondering why everyone keeps telling you to come up with the best music topics. The truth is that there are many, many benefits to choosing an awesome topic. Here are just some of them, so you can get a better idea of the importance of a great idea:

  • Excellent music research paper topics show your professor that you really did your best to get a top grade.
  • A good topic is one that you know much about. It should be relatively easy to you to research it and to write about it.
  • An awesome topic will pique the interest of your professor and will keep him or her reading. You will often get bonus points for this.
  • Great topics make you stand out from your classmates. Your professor will notice you, and the grade will reflect this.

Where Can You Find Decent Music Topics?

Finding amazing music research topics is easier said than done. Yes, the Internet is full of websites that are offering ideas. There are even websites where you can buy bundles of topics. However, the music argumentative essay topics you will get from these websites are not of the highest quality. Most of them are actually quite boring. And remember, you classmates are probably searching for music history research paper topics on the same websites as you do. You want your research topics on music or book review topics to be original, so your professor can have a reason to award your paper some bonus points. The best place to get excellent music topics to write about is this page. The list of ideas is updated frequently, so you can get an original topic for free right now.

Music History Research Topics

Are you looking for the most interesting music history research topics? If you do, just pick one from our list for free:

  • How did the Catholic church influence Renaissance music?
  • Social issues described in Baroque-period music.
  • Analyze the evolution of Romantic-era music.
  • How did the Baroque Opera come to be?
  • Who invented Medieval music and when?
  • Why has western music almost disappear in the last 10 years?
  • Analyze the evolution of music in the Classical era.
  • Analyzing violin music performance during the Romantic Era.

Music Argument Topics

Are you looking to find an argument and support it? Then you absolutely need to check out our exceptional list of music argument topics:

  • Music today is better than music in the 90s.
  • The most lucrative career for a musician.
  • Music helps you memorize faster.
  • The most popular kind of metal music.
  • The evolution of blues songs over the last 30 years.
  • Music helps children develop faster.
  • Hip-hop is a misunderstood music genre.
  • Jazz music is not obsolete.

Music Theory Topics

Interested in writing about music theory? Our amazing academic writers have put together a list of music theory topics for you:

  • Analyze the most important aspects of modern music.
  • Classical music has specific medical applications.
  • Hidden symbols in Renaissance-period music.
  • The unique features of Baroque-age music.
  • Analyze the evolution of music in the Baroque era.
  • The best music compositors in the Romantic era.
  • Remarkable characteristics of Romantic-age songs.
  • The peculiarities of Asian modern music.

Music Industry Topics

Writing about the music industry can be fun and entertaining. Your professor will love it. Pick one of our music industry topics and start writing:

  • What do you associate rock music with and why?
  • Should the music industry pay songwriters more?
  • How does illegal pirating of songs affect the music industry?
  • Do music sharing sites help new artists become famous.
  • Analyze the evolution of music labels in the US.
  • What differentiates a music label from all others?
  • Music talent shows and their effects on a musician’s career.
  • The difficulties of signing a contract with a major music label in the US.

Research Paper Topics on Music for High School

Are you a high school student? In this case, you will need our research paper topics on music for high school:

  • The best compositors of the Baroque Era.
  • What differentiates modern music from classical music?
  • Notable women in classical music.
  • Analyze the evolution of music in the Modern age.
  • How was Beethoven’s music influenced by his loss of hearing?
  • How would our world be without music?
  • Does music cause negative effects on US teens?

Music Thesis Topics

Writing a thesis about music is not easy. In fact, it can be one of the most difficult projects in your academic career. Start right now by choosing one of the best music thesis topics:

  • What made a musician stand out in the Baroque Age?
  • The most notable musical experiments in the Classical age.
  • Comparing Renaissance and Medieval music styles.
  • Analyze the evolution of music in the Renaissance age.
  • How did royalty in the UK benefit from music in the Renaissance era?
  • Discuss a folk song from the Renaissance age.
  • Differences between Asian and European classical music.

Music Controversial Topics

Music, like most other disciplines, has plenty of controversial topics you can talk about. Don’t waste any time and pick one of these music controversial topics:

  • Does digital music cut the profits of musicians?
  • Who owns the intellectual property to a song?
  • The difficulties of getting songwriting credit.
  • Illegal downloads are changing the music industry.
  • Should music education still be included in the curriculum?
  • Analyze medieval liturgical music.
  • Music should be free for everyone to download and use.

Persuasive Speech Topics About Music

Are you required the write a persuasive speech about music? If you are, you may need a bit of help. Pick one of these persuasive speech topics about music (updated for 2023):

  • Music has a significant effect on advertising.
  • The changes rap music has brought to the US culture.
  • Indie is a term that should not apply to music.
  • Metal music should be banned from the US.
  • Does listening to music have a great influence on mental health?
  • The amazing evolution of music in the Medieval age.
  • People should be free to listen to the music they like for free.
  • The fashion industry wouldn’t be where it is today without music.

Easy Topics About Music

Perhaps you don’t want to spend 5 or 6 hours writing the research paper . You need an easier topic. Choose one of these easy topics about music and write the essay fast:

  • How can one become a symbol of modern music?
  • My favorite singer today.
  • Which musician from the past would you bring back to life and why?
  • Do politics influence modern music?
  • Compare and contrast two music genres.
  • Analyze the evolution of music in the modern age in the United States.
  • The side effects of turning the volume too loud.
  • How is classical music used in Disney movies?

Music Education Research Topics

Are you interested in talking about music education? Perhaps you’ll have some suggestions to make after you’ve done the research. Just choose one of the music education research topics below:

  • Can E-Learning be applied to music education?
  • Can music teachers offer distance learning services?
  • The advantages and disadvantages of Zoom music lessons.
  • Why are music worksheets so important for high school students?
  • How did the Internet change music education?
  • Why are modern music studies so important?
  • Should we learn more about Asian music in school?
  • How can students learn music while respecting COVID19 measures?

Highly Interesting Music Topics

We know you want a top grade on your next music research paper. We advise you to select one of these highly interesting music topics and surprise your professor:

  • How did pop music came to existence and why?
  • Analyze the history of hip-hop music.
  • Compare metal music with classical music.
  • Why is rock music so popular in the United Kingdom?
  • Which song would best present our species to aliens?
  • Compare and contrast Korean and Chinese music.
  • Analyze the popular themes of Japanese music.
  • The stunning rise of K-pop bands.

Informative Speech Topics About Music

It’s difficult to find good informative speech topics about music these days. If you want to stand out from the rest of your classmates, choose one of our topics:

  • Discuss the ideas presented in romantic music.
  • What do people who appreciate classic music have in common?
  • Analyze the most popular Bach music.
  • Describe the role of market music in the Baroque era.
  • Analyze the evolution of European music.
  • Ways to make classical music popular with teens in the UK.
  • Discuss the most popular musical instrument in the Classical age.

Music Essay Topics for College

Are you a college student? If you want an A+ on your next research paper, use one of these music essay topics for college students:

  • Does modern music contain medieval themes?
  • Analyze a song from the Renaissance age.
  • Why is blues music so important for our culture?
  • Who invented the blues genre and when?
  • Analyze the evolution of American folk music.
  • Most popular names in Baroque-age songs.
  • Modern interpretations of medieval songs.
  • Listening to blues music can lead to depression.

Need some more music history paper topics? Or perhaps you need a list of music related research topics to choose from for your thesis. Our best paper writer can help you in no time. Get in touch with us and we guarantee that we will find the perfect music topic for your needs. You will be well on your way to getting the A+ you need. Give us a try and get an amazing research topic on music in 10 minutes or less!

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500+ Music Research Topics

Music Research Topics

Music is a universal language that has the power to evoke emotions, bring people together, and express complex ideas and feelings. As a result, it has been the subject of extensive research and analysis across a wide range of fields, from psychology and neuroscience to sociology and cultural studies. Whether you are a music student, researcher , or simply a curious enthusiast, there are countless fascinating and important topics to explore within the realm of music research. From the history and evolution of different musical genres to the impact of music on human behavior and cognition, the possibilities for investigation and discovery are virtually endless. In this post, we will highlight some of the most interesting and relevant music research topics that you can explore in your own studies or simply as a way to deepen your appreciation and understanding of this rich and diverse art form.

Music Research Topics

Music Research Topics are as follows:

  • The impact of music on memory retention.
  • The evolution of hip-hop music and its influence on popular culture.
  • The relationship between music and emotions.
  • The role of music in religious and spiritual practices.
  • The effects of music on mental health.
  • The impact of music on athletic performance.
  • The role of music in therapy and rehabilitation.
  • The evolution of classical music through the ages.
  • The impact of technology on music creation and distribution.
  • The relationship between music and language acquisition.
  • The cultural significance of music in different parts of the world.
  • The influence of popular music on politics and social issues.
  • The impact of music on academic performance.
  • The role of music in film and television.
  • The use of music in advertising and marketing.
  • The psychology of musical preferences.
  • The effects of music on sleep patterns and quality.
  • The impact of music on creativity and productivity.
  • The influence of music on fashion and style.
  • The impact of music education on childhood development.
  • The role of music in memory recall and nostalgia.
  • The effects of music on physical health.
  • The relationship between music and brain development.
  • The impact of music on the immune system.
  • The influence of music on social behavior.
  • The evolution of jazz music and its impact on society.
  • The role of music in cultural preservation and identity.
  • The effects of music on stress levels and anxiety.
  • The relationship between music and social movements.
  • The impact of music on language learning and pronunciation.
  • The effects of music on learning and cognition.
  • The influence of music on political ideologies and movements.
  • The impact of music on academic achievement.
  • The relationship between music and cultural assimilation.
  • The role of music in international diplomacy.
  • The effects of music on physical performance and endurance.
  • The impact of music on memory consolidation and recall.
  • The influence of music on fashion trends and subcultures.
  • The role of music in socialization and identity formation.
  • The effects of music on perception and attention.
  • The impact of music on decision making and judgment.
  • The relationship between music and romantic attraction.
  • The role of music in social justice movements.
  • The effects of music on motor skills and coordination.
  • The influence of music on cultural exchange and globalization.
  • The impact of music on language and cultural barriers.
  • The relationship between music and cultural appropriation.
  • The role of music in community building and activism.
  • The effects of music on motivation and goal setting.
  • The influence of music on fashion advertising and marketing.
  • The impact of music on social inequality and discrimination.
  • The relationship between music and cultural hegemony.
  • The role of music in political propaganda and manipulation.
  • The effects of music on physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • The influence of music on cultural diplomacy and international relations.
  • The impact of music on the environment and sustainability.
  • The relationship between music and social hierarchies.
  • The role of music in cultural exchange and intercultural communication.
  • The effects of music on creative thinking and problem solving.
  • The influence of music on consumer behavior and product preferences.
  • The impact of music on social mobility and economic inequality.
  • The relationship between music and cultural diversity.
  • The role of music in intergenerational communication and conflict resolution.
  • The effects of music on mood and emotional regulation.
  • The influence of music on cultural authenticity and representation.
  • The impact of music on memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The impact of music on recovery and rehabilitation in individuals with physical injuries.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural exchange and understanding in international education.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in international relations.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in international human rights.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with ADHD.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the food and beverage industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-sexual orientations.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and retention in the finance industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in international development.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and depression in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the transportation industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-abilities.
  • The impact of music on academic performance and motivation in college students.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural understanding and acceptance in international cooperation.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the entertainment industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-language backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on creativity and innovation in the tech startup industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in international peacekeeping.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with traumatic brain injury.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the travel industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and productivity in the education industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in international cooperation.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and anxiety in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the home appliance industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-culture backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on academic performance and motivation in graduate students.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural understanding and acceptance in international diplomacy.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with attention deficit disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the construction industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-spiritual backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on creativity and productivity in the healthcare industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in international justice.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the hospitality industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-political backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and retention in the automotive industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in international diplomacy.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and depression in individuals with major depressive disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the telecommunications industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-ethnic and racial backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on academic performance and motivation in high school students with disabilities.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural understanding and acceptance in international trade.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with borderline personality disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the fashion industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-heritage backgrounds.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with schizophrenia.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the technology industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-race identities.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and retention in the hospitality industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in global development.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and anxiety in individuals with social phobia.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the toy industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-faith backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on academic performance and motivation in high school students.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with oppositional defiant disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the beauty industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-ethnicity backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on creativity and productivity in the fashion industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in international aid.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with dementia.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the fitness industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-gender identities.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and productivity in the technology industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in international tourism.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and depression in individuals with anxiety disorders.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the pet industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-education backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on academic performance and motivation in middle school students.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the home decor industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-sex identities.
  • The impact of music on creativity and innovation in the gaming industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in international conflict resolution.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with bipolar disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the sports industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-nationality and mixed-linguistic backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and retention in the retail industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in global governance.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and anxiety in individuals with panic disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the electronics industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-citizenship backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on academic performance and motivation in elementary school students.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural understanding and acceptance in international security.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with conduct disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the agriculture industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-religious backgrounds.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with traumatic brain injuries.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with disability identities.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural understanding and acceptance in the healthcare industry.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and anxiety in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with LGBTQ+ identities.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and productivity in the gig economy.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in education policy.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-age identities.
  • The impact of music on creativity and innovation in the advertising industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in urban planning.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the food industry.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and retention in the nonprofit sector.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural understanding and acceptance in international business.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and depression in individuals with chronic pain.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the gaming industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-sexual orientation identities.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural communication and understanding in foreign policy.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with social anxiety disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the craft industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-disability identities.
  • The impact of music on creativity and productivity in the media industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in corporate social responsibility.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with substance use disorders.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the automotive industry.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and productivity in the education sector.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in international law.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the wellness industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-nationality backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on academic performance and motivation in adult learners.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural understanding and acceptance in global governance.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the furniture industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-generational backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on creativity and innovation in the film industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural integration and social cohesion in diverse communities.
  • The effects of music on cognitive functioning and mental health in individuals with multiple sclerosis.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the tech industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in second-generation immigrants.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural communication and understanding in diplomacy.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and self-esteem in individuals with eating disorders.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the publishing industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in biracial and multiracial families.
  • The impact of music on creativity and innovation in the workplace.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural awareness and sensitivity in the criminal justice system.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with schizophrenia.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with refugee backgrounds.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural understanding and acceptance in global marketing.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and anxiety in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed religious backgrounds.
  • The impact of music on academic achievement and retention in community college students.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural exchange and understanding in international development.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with bipolar disorder.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the luxury goods industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with immigrant parents.
  • The impact of music on creativity and productivity in the tech industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural sensitivity and understanding in journalism.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and depression in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the wine industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with non-binary gender identities.
  • The impact of music on job satisfaction and productivity in remote workers.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and understanding in international relations.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural awareness and sensitivity in diplomacy.
  • The effects of music on emotional regulation and self-esteem in individuals with body dysmorphia.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with immigrant grandparents.
  • The role of music in promoting cultural understanding and acceptance in global advertising.
  • The effects of music on social skills and behavior in individuals with borderline intellectual functioning.
  • The relationship between music and cultural representation in the fragrance industry.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and mental health in individuals with mixed-citizenship status.
  • The impact of music on creativity and productivity in the creative industries
  • The relationship between music and social cohesion in diverse communities.
  • The role of music in social justice movements and protests.
  • The effects of music on pain management and perception.
  • The influence of music on cultural hybridity and globalization.
  • The impact of music on social identity and self-esteem.
  • The relationship between music and cultural imperialism.
  • The role of music in therapeutic settings for children and adolescents.
  • The effects of music on language development in bilingual children.
  • The influence of music on cultural representation in the media.
  • The impact of music on interpersonal relationships and communication.
  • The relationship between music and cultural hegemony in the digital age.
  • The role of music in community-based initiatives for social change.
  • The effects of music on mental health in marginalized communities.
  • The influence of music on cultural identity and self-expression.
  • The impact of music on academic engagement and success in at-risk students.
  • The relationship between music and cultural appropriation in popular culture.
  • The role of music in cultural diplomacy and international relations in the 21st century.
  • The effects of music on cognitive processing in individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • The influence of music on cultural hybridity and transnationalism.
  • The impact of music on social justice advocacy and awareness-raising.
  • The relationship between music and cultural resistance in marginalized communities.
  • The role of music in the negotiation of cultural identities in the diaspora.
  • The effects of music on language processing and learning in second language acquisition.
  • The influence of music on cultural exchange and intercultural communication in the digital age.
  • The impact of music on academic achievement in students with disabilities.
  • The relationship between music and cultural hegemony in the music industry.
  • The role of music in the socialization and empowerment of girls and women.
  • The effects of music on physical health in individuals with chronic pain.
  • The influence of music on cultural authenticity and representation in the tourism industry.
  • The impact of music on the construction of gender and sexuality in popular culture.
  • The relationship between music and cultural appropriation in the fashion industry.
  • The role of music in promoting cross-cultural understanding and empathy.

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Diverse Music Essay Topics for Students and Music Enthusiasts

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Table of contents

  • 1 How to Write an Essay on Music
  • 2.1 Argumentative Essay Topics about Music
  • 2.2 Topics for College Essays about Music
  • 2.3 Controversial Topics in Music
  • 2.4 Classical Music Essay Topics
  • 2.5 Jazz Music Essay Topics
  • 2.6 Rock and Pop Music Essay Topics
  • 2.7 Persuasive Essay Topics about Music

Music is a magical world of different sounds and stories. When we talk about music, there are so many things we can explore. Writing essays about sound lets us share our feelings and thoughts about this wonderful art. In this collection, you will find 140 music essay topics.

These topics are carefully chosen to help you think and write about sound in many exciting ways. Whether you love listening to music or playing an instrument, these topics about music for an essay will spark your creativity. They cover everything, from your favorite songs to the history of music. So, get ready to dive into the sound world with these fun and interesting essay ideas!

How to Write an Essay on Music

Writing an essay about sound can be a fun and exciting way to express your thoughts and feelings about this amazing art form. Whether you are working on college essays about music, or research paper topics on music, here are some steps to help you create a great piece of writing.

  • First, choose a topic that you are passionate about. It could be anything from your favorite musician to a specific sound genre. For a college essay about sound, you might want to share a personal story about how music has impacted your life. For argumentative essay topics about sound, consider issues like the importance of sound education or the effects of music on the brain. If you’re working on a research paper on sound, explore the history of a certain music style or the role of sound in different cultures.
  • Once you have your topic, start with some research. Look for interesting facts, stories, and opinions about your topic. This will give you many ideas and help you understand your topic better.
  • Next, create an outline for your essay. This will help you organize your thoughts and keep your writing clear and focused. Start with an introduction that introduces your topic and grabs the reader’s attention. Then, write a few paragraphs that explain your main points. Each paragraph should focus on one main idea or argument. In your writing, explain things in a way that’s easy to understand. Use simple words and short sentences.
  • Also, try to include examples and personal experiences to make your essay more interesting and relatable.

Need help with essay writing? Get your paper written by a professional writer Get Help Reviews.io 4.9/5

List of Topics about Music for an Essay – 40 words

Discover a world of music topics to write about in this list! From fun ideas to controversial topics in music, these essay suggestions will inspire you to explore the diverse and exciting universe of music.

Argumentative Essay Topics about Music

Dive into the world of melodies and rhythms with these essay topics about music! Whether you’re passionate about different genres or curious about the impact of sound, these argumentative essay topics will guide you to explore and express your views on various musical aspects. So, let’s get ready to write and debate about the diverse and vibrant universe of sound.

  • Is Melody Essential in Every School’s Curriculum
  • The Impact of Melody on Mental Health
  • Should There Be More Support for Local Musicians
  • The Role of Songs in Cultural Preservation
  • Does Modern Melody Lack Originality
  • The Effects of Sound on Productivity
  • Are Music Award Shows Biased
  • The Importance of Lyrics in Songs
  • Should Songs Be Used in Advertising
  • The Influence of Music on Fashion Trends
  • Does Melody Promote a Better Global Understanding
  • Should Explicit Sound Be Censored
  • Are Songs Festivals Beneficial for Local Communities
  • The Role of Technology in Melody Production
  • Is Classical Melody Still Relevant in the Modern Era
  • The Impact of Social Media on Musicians’ Success
  • Should Music Be Included in Workplace Settings
  • The Role of Melody in Political Movements
  • Are Music Streaming Services Fair to Artists
  • The Importance of Preserving Traditional Melody

Topics for College Essays about Music

Step into the rhythm of words with these research paper topics about music, perfect for college essays. These topics offer a wide range of ideas, from personal experiences to cultural impacts, inviting you to explore the profound influence of sound. They are designed to inspire deep thought and passionate writing, helping you connect your academic skills with your love for melody.

  • How Sound Influences Fashion Trends
  • The Role of Melody in Different Cultures
  • Personal Growth Through Learning a Musical Instrument
  • The Evolution of a Specific Melody Genre
  • The Impact of Songs Streaming Services on Artists
  • Music as a Form of Social Protest
  • The Psychological Effects of Melody on the Human Mind
  • The Importance of Songs Education in Schools
  • The Relationship Between Melody and Memory
  • How Technology Has Changed the Way We Experience Music
  • The Representation of Women in Music
  • Music’s Role in Personal Identity
  • The Influence of Melody on Mood and Behavior
  • The Resurgence of Vinyl Records in the Digital Age
  • The Globalization of Music and Its Effects
  • The Economic Impact of the Songs Industry
  • Melody as a Tool for International Diplomacy
  • The Ethics of Music Sampling and Remixing
  • The Role of Melody in Film and Media
  • The Future of Live Music Performances

Controversial Topics in Music

Embark on a journey through the provocative and often debated realms of music with these 20 topics on controversial topics in music. These topics are designed to stir thought and conversation, challenging you to explore the music world’s more contentious and complex aspects. From ethical dilemmas to cultural controversies, these subjects offer diverse perspectives for deep exploration and spirited discussion.

  • The Impact of Song Piracy on the Industry
  • Censorship in Songs and Its Effects on Artistic Freedom
  • The Portrayal of Women in Popular Song Videos
  • The Commercialization of Indie Melody Genres
  • The Role of Auto-Tune in Modern Music
  • Melody as a Tool for Political Propaganda
  • The Influence of Corporate Sponsors in Melody Festivals
  • The Ethical Considerations of Posthumous Melody Releases
  • Cultural Appropriation in the Song Industry
  • The Decline of Traditional Songs Forms
  • The Relationship Between Melody and Substance Abuse
  • The Effect of Digital Streaming on Melody Quality
  • The Representation of Minority Groups in Mainstream Music
  • The Debate Over Explicit Lyrics and Parental Advisory Labels
  • The Rise of AI in Songs Creation
  • The Impact of Reality Song Shows on the Industry
  • The Role of Gender in Melody Award Nominations
  • Melody and Its Influence on Youth Behavior
  • The Sustainability of the Music Tour Industry
  • The Shift in Melody Consumption From Albums to Singles

Classical Music Essay Topics

Go on an enlightening journey through the world of melodies and harmonies with these 20 music topics to research, perfect for crafting compelling college essays. These topics delve into music’s vast and varied dimensions, from its historical roots to its modern-day impact. They are designed to ignite your curiosity and inspire in-depth exploration, blending academic rigor with a passion for music.

  • The Evolution of Melody Through the Decades
  • The Influence of Classical Song on Modern Genres
  • The Psychological Effects of Melody Therapy
  • The Role of Women Composers in Song History
  • The Impact of Social Media on Emerging Musicians
  • The Significance of Folk Song in Cultural Heritage
  • The Development of Electronic Melody and Its Future
  • Melody Censorship and Its Implications for Artistic Expression
  • The Role of Song in Film and Storytelling
  • The Globalization of Songs Genres and Styles
  • The Relationship Between Music and Fashion Trends
  • The History of Rock Melody and Its Cultural Impact
  • The Use of Songs in Advertising and Consumer Behavior
  • The Effects of Song Streaming on the Melody Industry
  • The Intersection of Melody and Political Movements
  • The Role of Songs in Shaping Youth Culture
  • The Cultural Significance of Melody Festivals Worldwide
  • The Preservation and Revival of Indigenous Music
  • The Impact of Technology on Songs Production and Distribution
  • The Contribution of Music to Mental Health and Wellbeing

Jazz Music Essay Topics

Step into the soulful and vibrant jazz world with these music topics for essays. Jazz, a genre rich in history and innovation, offers a treasure trove of fascinating themes for exploration. These essay topics will guide you through jazz’s intricate rhythms and stories, from its early beginnings to its modern interpretations. Delve into this mesmerizing music style’s legendary artists, iconic performances, and cultural impacts.

  • The Origins of Jazz and Its Early Influences
  • The Evolution of Jazz Through the 20th Century
  • Key Figures in the Development of Jazz Music
  • The Role of Improvisation in Jazz
  • The Influence of Jazz on Other Melody Genres
  • The Cultural Significance of Jazz in the Harlem Renaissance
  • The Globalization of Jazz Melody
  • The Impact of Technology on Jazz Recording and Production
  • The Fusion of Jazz With Other Musical Styles
  • Jazz as a Form of Social and Political Expression
  • The Portrayal of Jazz in Cinema and Literature
  • The Future of Jazz in the Digital Age
  • The Role of Jazz in Education and Music Therapy
  • Women in Jazz: Contributions and Challenges
  • The Jazz Scene in Different Parts of the World
  • The Preservation of Classic Jazz in Modern Times
  • The Influence of Jazz on Fashion and Lifestyle
  • Jazz Clubs and Their Role in Cultural Development
  • The Impact of Jazz Festivals on Local Communities
  • The Relationship Between Jazz and Modern Dance Forms

Rock and Pop Music Essay Topics

Rock and pop music, with its pulsing rhythms and catchy melodies, have captivated audiences for decades. This collection of 20 unique essay topics explores the depth and diversity of these influential genres. From the electric energy of rock to the widespread appeal of pop, these topics invite you to delve into the history, evolution, and cultural significance of these dynamic music styles. Whether examining iconic artists, groundbreaking albums, or the social impact of these genres, each topic offers a fascinating avenue for exploration and discussion in your essays.

  • The Evolution of Rock Songs From the 1950s to Today
  • The Influence of Pop Melody on Global Culture
  • The Role of Songs Videos in Shaping Rock and Pop
  • The Impact of Digital Streaming on the Rock and Pop Industry
  • The Significance of the Beatles in Music History
  • The Rise and Fall of Glam Rock
  • The Role of Women in the Development of Pop Music
  • The Influence of Rock Melody on Fashion Trends
  • The Changing Face of Pop Songs in the 21st Century
  • The Impact of Social Media on Rock and Pop Musicians
  • The Fusion of Rock With Other Melody Genres
  • The Role of Rock and Pop Music in Political Movements
  • The Evolution of Live Performances in Rock and Pop
  • The Significance of the Grammy Awards in Rock and Pop
  • The Depiction of Rock and Pop Songs in Movies
  • The Influence of Technology on the Production of Rock and Pop Music
  • The Cultural Diversity in the Rock and Pop Melody Scenes
  • The Role of Indie Labels in the Rock and Pop Industry
  • The Impact of Fan Culture on Rock and Pop Song
  • The Sustainability of Rock and Pop Songs in the Streaming Era

Persuasive Essay Topics about Music

Take a trip through melody and argument with these 20 music-related persuasive essay topics. Each topic, chosen for its ability to inspire compelling arguments and deep research, falls under the umbrella of musical topics for research papers. These prompts will challenge you to explore various facets of music, from cultural significance to technological impacts. As you delve into these topics, you’ll be encouraged to form strong opinions and support them with well-researched evidence, making your essays informative and persuasive.

  • The Necessity of Melody Education in Schools for Overall Development
  • The Impact of Classical Songs on Cognitive Abilities
  • Song Streaming Services and Their Effect on the Industry
  • The Role of Melody in Maintaining Mental Health
  • Songs as a Universal Language Bridging Cultural Divides
  • The Importance of Preserving Traditional Melody Forms
  • Music’s Influence on Fashion and Lifestyle
  • The Ethical Implications of Auto-Tune in Song Production
  • The Role of Social Media in the Success of New Artists
  • The Power of Songs in Social and Political Activism
  • The Benefits of Attending Live Music Performances
  • Songs as a Tool for Improving Concentration and Productivity
  • The Evolution of Melody Genres and Its Cultural Impact
  • The Effects of Background Song in Public Spaces
  • The Role of Songs in Advertising Effectiveness
  • Music’s Influence on Youth and Teen Development
  • The Relationship Between Melody and Emotional Intelligence
  • The Future of Virtual Reality Concerts in the Melody Industry
  • The Impact of Songs Piracy on Artists and Producers
  • The Role of Melody in Enhancing Cross-Cultural Communication

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  • Review Article
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  • Published: 22 June 2021

Mental health and music engagement: review, framework, and guidelines for future studies

  • Daniel E. Gustavson   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1470-4928 1 , 2 ,
  • Peyton L. Coleman   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5388-6886 3 ,
  • John R. Iversen 4 ,
  • Hermine H. Maes 5 , 6 , 7 ,
  • Reyna L. Gordon 2 , 3 , 8 , 9 &
  • Miriam D. Lense 2 , 8 , 9  

Translational Psychiatry volume  11 , Article number:  370 ( 2021 ) Cite this article

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  • Medical genetics
  • Psychiatric disorders

Is engaging with music good for your mental health? This question has long been the topic of empirical clinical and nonclinical investigations, with studies indicating positive associations between music engagement and quality of life, reduced depression or anxiety symptoms, and less frequent substance use. However, many earlier investigations were limited by small populations and methodological limitations, and it has also been suggested that aspects of music engagement may even be associated with worse mental health outcomes. The purpose of this scoping review is first to summarize the existing state of music engagement and mental health studies, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. We focus on broad domains of mental health diagnoses including internalizing psychopathology (e.g., depression and anxiety symptoms and diagnoses), externalizing psychopathology (e.g., substance use), and thought disorders (e.g., schizophrenia). Second, we propose a theoretical model to inform future work that describes the importance of simultaneously considering music-mental health associations at the levels of (1) correlated genetic and/or environmental influences vs. (bi)directional associations, (2) interactions with genetic risk factors, (3) treatment efficacy, and (4) mediation through brain structure and function. Finally, we describe how recent advances in large-scale data collection, including genetic, neuroimaging, and electronic health record studies, allow for a more rigorous examination of these associations that can also elucidate their neurobiological substrates.

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Introduction.

Music engagement, including passive listening and active music-making (singing, instrument playing), impacts socio-emotional development across the lifespan (e.g., socialization, personal/cultural identity, mood regulation, etc.), and is tightly linked with many cognitive and personality traits [ 1 , 2 , 3 ]. A growing literature also demonstrates beneficial associations between music engagement and quality of life, well-being, prosocial behavior, social connectedness, and emotional competence [ 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 ]. Despite these advances linking engagement with music to many wellness characteristics, we have a limited understanding of how music engagement directly and indirectly contributes to mental health, including at the trait-level (e.g., depression and anxiety symptoms, substance use behaviors), clinical diagnoses (e.g., associations with major depressive disorder (MDD) or substance use disorder (SUD) diagnoses), or as a treatment. Our goals in this scoping review are to (1) describe the state of music engagement research regarding its associations with mental health outcomes, (2) introduce a theoretical framework for future studies that highlight the contribution of genetic and environmental influences (and their interplay) that may give rise to these associations, and (3) illustrate some approaches that will help us more clearly elucidate the genetic/environmental and neural underpinnings of these associations.

Scope of the article

People interact with music in a wide variety of ways, with the concept of “musicality” broadly including music engagement, music perception and production abilities, and music training [ 9 ]. Table 1 illustrates the breadth of music phenotypes and example assessment measures. Research into music and mental health typically focuses on measures of music engagement, including passive (e.g., listening to music for pleasure or as a part of an intervention) and active music engagement (e.g., playing an instrument or singing; group music-making), both of which can be assessed using a variety of objective and subjective measures. We focus primarily on music engagement in the current paper but acknowledge it will also be important to examine how mental health traits relate to other aspects of musicality as well (e.g., perception and production abilities).

Our scoping review and theoretical framework incorporate existing theoretical and mechanistic explanations for how music engagement relates to mental health. From a psychological perspective, studies have proposed that music engagement can be used as a tool for encouraging self-expression, developing emotion regulation and coping skills, and building community [ 10 , 11 ]. From a physiological perspective, music engagement modulates arousal levels including impacts on heart rate, electrodermal activity, and cortisol [ 12 , 13 ]. These effects may be driven in part by physical aspects of music (e.g., tempo) or rhythmic movements involved in making or listening to music, which impact central nervous system functioning (e.g., leading to changes in autonomic activity) [ 14 ], as well as by personality and contextual factors (e.g., shared social experiences) [ 15 ]. Musical experiences also impact neurochemical processes involved in reward processing [ 10 , 13 , 14 , 16 , 17 , 18 ], which are also implicated in mental health disorders (e.g., substance use; depression). Thus, an overarching framework for studying music-mental health associations should integrate the psychological, physiological, and neurochemical aspects of these potential associations. We propose expanding this scope further through consideration of genetic and environmental risk factors, which may give rise to (and/or interact with) other factors to impact health and well-being.

Regarding mental health, it is important to recognize the hierarchical structure of psychopathology [ 19 , 20 ]. Common psychological disorders share many features and cluster into internalizing (e.g., MDD, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)), externalizing (e.g., SUDs, conduct disorder), and thought disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), with common variance shared even across these domains [ 20 ]. These higher-order constructs tend to explain much of the comorbidity among individual disorders, and have helped researchers characterize associations between psychopathology, cognition, and personality [ 21 , 22 , 23 ]. We use this hierarchical structure to organize our review. We first summarize the emerging literature on associations between music engagement and generalized well-being that provides promising evidence for associations between music engagement and mental health. Next, we summarize associations between music engagement and internalizing traits, externalizing traits/behaviors, and thought disorders, respectively. Within these sections, we critically consider the strengths and shortcomings of existing studies and how the latter may limit the conclusions drawn from this work.

Our review considers both correlational and experimental studies (typically, intervention studies; see Fig. 1 for examples of study designs). We include not only studies that examine symptoms or diagnoses based on diagnostic interviews, but also those that assess quantitative variation (e.g., trait anxiety) in clinical and nonclinical populations. This is partly because individuals with clinical diagnoses may represent the extreme end of a spectrum of similar, sub-clinical, problems in the population, a view supported by evidence that genetic influences on diagnosed psychiatric disorders or DSM symptom counts are similar to those for trait-level symptoms in the general population [ 24 , 25 ]. Music engagement may be related to this full continuum of mental health, including correlations with trait-level symptoms in nonclinical populations and alleviation of symptoms from clinical disorders. For example, work linking music engagement to subjective well-being speaks to potential avenues for mental health interventions in the population at large.

figure 1

Within experimental studies, music interventions can include passive musical activities (e.g., song listening, music and meditation, lyric discussion, creating playlists) or active musical activities (e.g., creative methods, such as songwriting or improvisation and/or re-creative methods, such as song parody).

The goal of this scoping review was to integrate across related, but often disconnected, literatures in order to propose a comprehensive theoretical framework for advancing our understanding of music-mental health associations. For this reason, we did not conduct a fully systematic search or quality appraisal of documents. Rather, we first searched PubMed and Google Scholar for review articles and meta-analyses using broad search terms (e.g., “review” and “music” and [“anxiety” or “depression” or “substance use”]). Then, when drafting each section, we searched for additional papers that have been published more recently and/or were examples of higher-quality research in each domain. When giving examples, we emphasize the most recent and most well-powered empirical studies. We also conducted some targeted literature searches where reviews were not available (e.g., “music” and [“impulsivity” or “ADHD”]) using the same databases. Our subsequent framework is intended to contextualize diagnostic, symptom, and mechanistic findings more broadly within the scope of the genetic and environmental risk factors on psychopathology that give rise to these associations and (potentially) impact the efficacy of treatment efforts. As such, the framework incorporates evidence from review articles and meta-analyses from various literatures (e.g., music interventions for anxiety [ 26 ], depression [ 27 ]) in combination with experimental evidence of biological underpinnings of music engagement and the perspective provided by newly available methods for population-health approaches (i.e., complex trait genetics, gene–environment interactions).

Music engagement and well-being

A growing body of studies report associations between music engagement and general indices of mental health, including increased well-being or emotional competence, lending support for the possibility that music engagement may also be associated with better specific mental health outcomes. In over 8000 Swedish twins, hours of music practice and self-reported music achievement were associated with better emotional competence [ 5 ]. Similarly, a meta-ethnography of 46 qualitative studies revealed that participation in music activities supported well-being through management of emotions, facilitation of self-development, providing respite from problems, and facilitating social connections [ 28 ]. In a sample of 1000 Australian adults, individuals who engaged with music, such as singing or dancing with others or attending concerts reported greater well-being vs. those who engaged in these experiences alone or did not engage. Other types of music engagement, such as playing an instrument or composing music were not associated with well-being in this sample [ 4 ]. Earlier in life, social music experiences (including song familiarity and synchronous movement to music) are associated with a variety of prosocial behaviors in infants and children [ 6 ], as well as positive affect [ 7 ]. Thus, this work provides some initial evidence that music engagement is associated with better general mental health outcomes in children and adults with some heterogeneity in findings depending on the specific type of music engagement.

Music engagement and internalizing problems

MDD, GAD, and PTSD are the most frequently clustered aspects of internalizing psychopathology [ 19 , 24 , 29 , 30 ]. Experimental studies provide evidence for the feasibility of music intervention efforts and their therapeutic benefits but are not yet rigorous enough to draw strong conclusions. The most severe limitations are small samples, the lack of appropriate control groups, few interventions with multiple sessions, and publications omitting necessary information regarding the intervention (e.g., intervention fidelity, inclusion/exclusion criteria, education status of intervention leader) [ 31 , 32 , 33 ]. Correlational studies, by contrast, suggest musicians are at greater risk for internalizing problems, but that they use music engagement as a tool to help manage these problems [ 34 , 35 ].

Experimental studies

Randomized controlled trials have revealed that music interventions (including both music therapies administered by board-certified music therapists and other music interventions) are associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms [ 26 , 27 , 33 , 36 ]. A review of 28 studies reported that 26 revealed significantly reduced depression levels in music intervention groups compared to control groups, including the 9 studies which included active non-music intervention control groups (e.g., reading sessions, “conductive-behavior” psychotherapy, antidepressant drugs) [ 27 ]. A similar meta-analysis of 19 studies demonstrated that music listening is effective at decreasing self-reported anxiety in healthy individuals [ 26 ]. A review of music-based treatment studies related to PTSD revealed similar conclusions [ 36 ], though there were only four relevant studies. More recent studies confirm these findings [ 37 , 38 , 39 ], such as one randomized controlled trial that demonstrated reduced depression symptoms in older adults following musical improvisation exercises compared to an active control group (gentle gymnastic activities) [ 39 ].

This work is promising given that some studies have observed effects even when compared to traditional behavior therapies [ 40 , 41 ]. However, there are relatively few studies directly comparing music interventions to traditional therapies. Some music interventions incorporate components of other therapeutic methods in their programs including dialectic or cognitive behavior therapies [ 42 ], but few directly compare how the inclusion of music augments traditional behavioral therapy. Still other non-music therapies incorporate music into their practice (e.g., background music in mindfulness therapies) [ 43 , 44 ], but the specific contribution of music in these approaches is unclear. Thus, there is a great need for further systematic research relating music to traditional therapies to understand which components of music interventions act on the same mechanisms as traditional therapies (e.g., developing coping mechanisms and building community) and which bolster or synchronize with other approaches (e.g., by adding structure, reinforcement, predictability, and social context to traditional approaches).

Aside from comparison with other therapeutic approaches, an earlier review of 98 papers from psychiatric in-patient studies concluded that promising effects of music therapy were limited by small sample sizes and methodological shortcomings including lack of reporting of adverse events, exclusion criteria, possible confounders, and characteristics of patients lost to follow-up [ 33 ]. Other problems included inadequate reporting of information on the source population (e.g., selection of patients and proportion agreeing to take part in the study), the lack of masking of interviewers during post-test, and concealment of randomization. Nevertheless, there was some evidence that therapies with active music participation, structured sessions, and multiple sessions (i.e., four or more) improved mood, with all studies incorporating these characteristics reporting significant positive effects. However, most studies have focused on passive interventions, such as music listening [ 26 , 27 ]. Active interventions (e.g., singing, improvising) have not been directly compared with passive interventions [ 27 ], so more work is needed to clarify whether therapeutic effects are indeed stronger with more engaging and active interventions.

Correlational studies

Correlational studies have focused on the use of music in emotional self-regulation. Specifically, individuals high in neuroticism appear to use music to help regulate their emotions [ 34 , 35 ], with beneficial effects of music engagement on emotion regulation and well-being driven by cognitive reappraisal [ 45 ]. Music listening may also moderate the association between neuroticism and depression in adolescents [ 46 ], consistent with a protective effect.

A series of recent studies have used validated self-reported instruments that directly assess how individuals use music activities as an emotion regulation strategy [ 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 ]. In adults, the use of music listening for anger regulation and anxiety regulation was positively associated with subjective well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being [ 50 ]. In studies of adolescents and undergraduates, the use of music listening for entertainment was associated with fewer depression and anxiety symptoms [ 51 ]. “Healthy” music engagement in adolescents (i.e., using music for relaxation and connection with others) was also positively associated with happiness and school satisfaction [ 49 ]. However, the use of music listening for emotional discharge was also associated with greater depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms [ 51 ], and “unhealthy” music engagement (e.g., ‘hiding’ in music to block others out) was associated with lower well-being, happiness, school satisfaction, and greater depression and rumination [ 49 ]. Other work has highlighted the role of valence in these associations, with individuals who listen to happier music when they are in a bad mood reporting stronger ability for music to influence their mood than those who listen to sad music while in a negative mood [ 52 , 53 ].

This work highlights the importance of considering individuals’ motivations for engaging with music in examining associations with well-being and mental health, and are consistent with the idea that individuals already experiencing depression, anxiety, and stress use music as a therapeutic tool to manage their emotions, with some strategies being more effective than others. Of course, these correlational effects may not necessarily reflect causal associations, but could be due to bidirectional influences, as suggested by claims that musicians may be at higher risk for internalizing problems [ 54 , 55 , 56 ]. It is also necessary to consider demographic and socioeconomic factors in these associations [ 57 ], for example, because arts engagement may be more strongly associated with self-esteem in those with higher education [ 58 ].

It is also necessary to clarify if musicians (professional and/or nonprofessional) represent an already high-risk group for internalizing problems. In one large study conducted in Norway ( N  = 6372), professional musicians were higher in neuroticism than the general population [ 56 ]. Another study of musician cases ( N  = 9803) vs. controls ( N  = 49,015) identified in a US-based research database through text-mining of medical records found that musicians are at greater risk of MDD (Odds ratio [OR] = 1.21), anxiety disorders (OR = 1.25), and PTSD (OR = 1.13) [ 55 ]. However, other studies demonstrate null associations between musician status and depression symptoms [ 5 ] or mixed associations [ 59 ]. In N  = 10,776 Swedish twins, for example, professional and amateur musicians had more self-reported burnout symptoms [ 54 ]. However, neither playing music in the past, amateur musicianship, nor professional musicianship was significantly associated with depression or anxiety disorder diagnoses.

Even if musicians are at higher risk, such findings can still be consistent with music-making being beneficial and therapeutic (e.g., depression medication use is elevated in individuals with depressive symptoms because it is a treatment). Clinical samples may be useful in disentangling these associations (i.e., examining if those who engage with music more frequently have reduced symptoms), and wider deployment of measures that capture emotion regulation strategies and motivations for engaging with music will help shed light on whether high-risk individuals engage with music in qualitatively different ways than others [ 51 , 57 ]. Later, we describe how also considering the role of genetic and environmental risk factors in these associations (e.g., if individuals at high genetic and/or environmental risk self-select into music environments because they are therapeutic) can help to clarify these questions.

Music engagement and externalizing problems

The externalizing domain comprises SUDs, and also includes impulsivity, conduct disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially in adolescents [ 20 , 24 , 60 , 61 ]. Similar to the conclusions for internalizing traits, experimental studies show promising evidence that music engagement interventions may reduce substance use, ADHD, and other externalizing symptoms, but conclusions are limited by methodological limitations. Correlational evidence is sparce, but there is less reason to suspect musicians are at higher risk for externalizing problems.

Intervention studies have demonstrated music engagement is helpful in patients with SUDs, including reducing withdrawal symptoms and stress, allowing individuals to experience emotions without craving substance use, and making substance abuse treatment sessions more enjoyable and motivating [ 62 , 63 , 64 ] (for a systematic review, see [ 65 ]). Similar to the experimental studies of internalizing traits, however, these studies would also benefit from larger samples, better controls, and higher-quality reporting standards.

Music intervention studies for ADHD are of similar quality. Such interventions have been shown to reduce inattention [ 66 ], decrease negative mood [ 67 ], and increase reading comprehension for those with ADHD [ 68 ]. However, there is a great amount of variability among children with ADHD, as some may find music distracting while others may focus better in the presence of music [ 69 ].

Little research has been conducted to evaluate music engagement interventions for impulsivity or conduct disorder problems, and findings are mixed. For example, a music therapy study of 251 children showed that beneficial effects on communication skills (after participating in a free improvisation intervention) was significant, though only for the subset of children above age 13 [ 70 ]. Another study suggested the promising effects of music therapy on social skills and problem behaviors in 89 students selected based on social/emotional problem behaviors, but did not have a control group [ 71 ]. Other smaller studies ( N  < 20 each) show inconsistent results on disruptive behaviors and aggression [ 72 , 73 ].

Correlational studies on externalizing traits are few and far between. A number of studies examined how listening habits for different genres of music relate to more or less substance use [ 74 , 75 , 76 , 77 ]. However, these studies do not strongly illuminate associations between music engagement and substance use because musical genres are driven by cultural and socioeconomic factors that vary over the lifespan. In the previously cited large study of American electronic medical records [ 55 ] where musicianship was associated with more internalizing diagnoses, associations were nonsignificant for “tobacco use disorder” (OR = 0.93), “alcoholism” (OR = 1.01), “alcohol-related disorders” (OR = 1.00), or “substance addiction and disorders” (OR = 1.00). In fact, in sex-stratified analyses, female musicians were at significantly decreased risk for tobacco use disorder (OR = 0.85) [ 55 ]. Thus, there is less evidence musicians are at greater risk for externalizing problems than in other areas.

Regarding other aspects of externalizing, some studies demonstrate children with ADHD have poor rhythm skills, opening a possibility that working on rhythm skills may impact ADHD [ 78 , 79 ]. For example, music might serve as a helpful scaffold (e.g., for attention) due to its regular, predictable rhythmic beat. It will be important to examine whether these associations with music rhythm are also observed for measures of music engagement, especially in larger population studies. Finally, musicians were reported to have lower impulsiveness than prior population samples, but were not compared directly to non-musicians [ 80 , 81 ].

Music engagement and thought disorders

Thought disorders typically encompass schizophrenia and bipolar disorder [ 20 ]. Trait-level measures include schizotypal symptoms and depression symptoms. Much like internalizing, music interventions appear to provide some benefits to individuals with clinical diagnoses, but musicians may be at higher risk for thought disorders. Limitations of both experimental and correlational studies are similar to those for internalizing and externalizing.

Music intervention studies have been conducted with individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A recent meta-analysis of 18 music therapy studies for schizophrenia (and similar disorders) [ 82 ] demonstrated that music therapy plus standard care (compared to standard care alone) demonstrated improved general mental health, fewer negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and improved social functioning. No effects were observed for general functioning or positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Critiques echoed those described above. Most notably, although almost all studies had low risk of biases due to attrition, unclear risk of bias was evident in the vast majority of studies (>75%) for selection bias, performance bias, detection bias, and reporting bias. These concerns highlight the need for these studies to report more information about their study selection, blinding procedure, and outcomes.

More recent papers suggest similar benefits of music therapies in patients with psychosis [ 83 ] and thought disorders [ 84 ], with similar limitations (e.g., one study did not include a control group). Finally, although a 2021 review did not uncover more recent articles related to bipolar disorder, they argued that existing work suggests music therapy has the potential both to treat bipolar disorder symptoms and alleviate subthreshold symptoms in early stages of the disorder [ 85 ].

Much like internalizing, findings from the few existing studies suggest that musicians may be at higher risk for thought disorders. In the large sample of Swedish twins described earlier [ 54 ], playing an instrument was associated with more schizotypal symptoms across multiple comparisons (professional musicians vs. non-players; amateur musicians vs. non-players; still plays an instrument vs. never played). However, no associations were observed for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder diagnoses across any set of comparison groups. Another study demonstrated that individuals with higher genetic risk for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were more likely to be a member of a creative society (i.e., actor or dancer, musician, visual artist, or writer) or work in a profession in these fields [ 86 ]. Furthermore, musician status was associated with “bipolar disorder” (OR = 1.18) and “schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders” (OR = 1.18) in US electronic health records (EHRs) [ 55 ].

Interim summary

There is promising evidence that music engagement is associated with better mental health outcomes. Music engagement is positively associated with quality of life, well-being, social connectedness, and emotional competence. However, some individuals who engage with music may be at higher risk for mental health problems, especially internalizing and thought disorders. More research is needed to disentangle these contrasting results, including clarifying how “healthy” music engagement (e.g., for relaxation or social connection) leads to greater well-being or successful emotion regulation, and testing whether some individuals are more likely to use music as a tool to regulate emotions (e.g., those with high neuroticism) [ 34 , 35 ]. Similarly, it will be important to clarify whether the fact that musicians may be an at-risk group is an extension of working in an artistic field in general (which may feature lower pay or lack of job security) and/or if similar associations are observed with continuous music engagement phenotypes (e.g., hours of practice). As we elaborate on later, genetically informative datasets can help clarify these complex associations, for example by tested whether musicians are at higher genetic risk for mental health problems but their music engagement mitigates these risks.

Music intervention studies are feasible and potentially effective at treating symptoms in individuals with clinical diagnoses, including depression, anxiety, and SUDs. However, it will be essential to expand these studies to include larger samples, random sampling, and active control groups that compare the benefits of music interventions to traditional therapies and address possible confounds. These limitations make it hard to quantify how specific factors influence the effectiveness of interventions, such as length/depth of music training, age of sample, confounding variables (e.g., socioeconomic status), and type of intervention (e.g., individual vs. group sessions, song playing vs. songwriting, receptive vs. active methods). Similarly, the tremendous breadth of music engagement activities and measures makes it difficult to identify the specific aspects of music engagement that convey the most benefits to health and well-being [ 87 ]. It is therefore necessary to improve reporting quality of studies so researchers can better identify these potential moderators or confounds using systematic approaches (e.g., meta-analyses).

Various mechanisms have been proposed to explain the therapeutic effects of music on mental health, including psychological (e.g., building communities, developing coping strategies) [ 10 , 11 ] and specific neurobiological drivers (e.g., oxytocin, cortisol, autonomic nervous system activity) [ 12 , 13 , 14 ]. However, it will be vital to conduct more systematic research comparing the effects of music interventions to existing therapeutic methods and other types of creative activities (e.g., art [ 88 ]) to quantify which effects and mechanisms are specific to music engagement. Music interventions also do not have to be an alternative to other treatments, but may instead support key elements of traditional interventions, such as being engaging, enjoyable, providing social context, and increasing structure and predictability [ 89 ]. Indeed, some music therapists incorporate principals from existing psychotherapeutic models [ 42 , 90 ] and, conversely, newer therapeutic models (e.g., mindfulness) incorporate music into their practice [ 43 , 44 ]. It is not yet possible to disentangle which aspects of music interventions best synergize with or strengthen standard psychotherapeutic practices (which are also heterogeneous), but this will be possible with better reporting standards and quality experimental design.

To encapsulate and extend these ideas, we next propose a theoretical framework that delineates key aspects of how music engagement may relate to mental health, which is intended to be useful for guiding future investigations in a more systematic way.

Theoretical framework for future studies

Associations between music engagement and mental health may take multiple forms, driven by several different types of genetic predispositions and environmental effects that give rise to, and interact with, proposed psychological and neurobiological mechanisms described earlier. Figure 2 displays our theoretical model in which potential beneficial associations with music are delineated into testable hypotheses. Four key paths characterize specific ways in which music engagement may relate to (and influence) mental health traits, and thus represent key research questions to be addressed in future studies.

figure 2

Progression of mental health problems is based on a diathesis-stress model, where genetic predispositions and environmental exposures result in later problems (which can be remedied through treatment). Potential associations with music engagement include (Path 1; blue arrows) correlated genetic/environmental influences and/or causal associations between music engagement and trait-level mental health outcomes; (Path 2; red arrows) interactions between music engagement and risk factors to predict later trait-level or clinical level symptoms; and (Path 3; gold arrow) direct effects of music engagement on reducing symptoms or improving treatment efficacy. Path 4 (orange arrows) illustrates the importance of understanding how these potential protective associations are driven by neuroanatomy and function. MDD major depressive disorder, GAD generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD posttraumatic stress disorder, SUD substance use disorder(s).

Path 1: Music engagement relates to mental health through correlated genetic and environmental risk factors and/or causation

The diathesis-stress model of psychiatric disease posits that individuals carry different genetic liabilities for any given disorder [ 91 , 92 , 93 ], with disorder onset depending on the amount of negative vs. protective environmental life events and exposures the individual experiences. Although at first glance music engagement appears to be an environmental exposure, it is actually far from it. Twin studies have demonstrated that both music experiences and music ability measures are moderately heritable and genetically correlated with cognitive abilities like non-verbal intelligence [ 94 , 95 , 96 , 97 ]. Music engagement may be influenced by its own set of environmental influences, potentially including socioeconomic factors and availability of instruments. Thus, music engagement can be viewed as a combination of genetic and environmental predispositions and availability of opportunities for engagement [ 98 ] that are necessary to consider when evaluating associations with mental health [ 54 ].

When examining music-mental health associations, it is thus important to evaluate if associations are in part explained by correlated genetic or environmental influences (see Fig. 3 for schematic and explanation for interpreting genetic/environmental correlations). On one hand, individuals genetically predisposed to engage with music may be at lower risk of experiencing internalizing or externalizing problems. Indeed, music engagement and ability appear associated with cognitive abilities through genetic correlations [ 3 , 99 ], which may apply to music-mental health associations as well. On the other, individuals at high genetic risk for neuroticism or psychopathology may be more likely to engage with music because it is therapeutic, suggesting a genetic correlation in the opposite direction (i.e., increased genetic risk for musicians). To understand and better contextualize the potential therapeutic effects of music engagement, it is necessary to quantify these potential genetic associations, while simultaneously evaluating whether these associations are explained by correlated environmental influences.

figure 3

Variance in any given trait is explained by a combination of genetic influences (i.e., heritability) and environmental influences. For complex traits (e.g., MDD or depression symptoms), cognitive abilities (e.g., intelligence), and personality traits (e.g., impulsivity), many hundreds or thousands of independent genetic effects are combined together in the total heritability estimate. Similarly, environmental influences typically represent a multitude of factors, from individual life events to specific exposures (e.g., chemicals, etc.). The presence of a genetic or environmental correlation between traits indicates that some set of these influences have an impact on multiple traits. A Displayed using a Venn diagram. Identifying the strength of genetic vs. environmental correlations can be useful in testing theoretical models and pave the way for more complex genetic investigations. Beyond this, gene identification efforts (e.g., genome-wide association studies) and additional analyses of the resulting data can be used to classify whether these associations represent specific genetic influences that affect both traits equally (i.e., genetic pleiotropy ( B )) or whether a genetic influence impacts only one trait which in turn causes changes in the other (i.e., mediated genetic pleiotropy ( C )). Environmental influences can also act pleiotropically or in a mediated-pleiotropy manner, but only genetic influences are displayed for simplicity.

Beyond correlated genetic and environmental influences, music engagement and mental health problems may be associated with one another through direct influences (including causal impacts). This is in line with earlier suggestions that music activities (e.g., after-school programs, music practice) engage adolescents, removing opportunities for drug-seeking behaviors [ 100 ], increasing their social connections to peers [ 101 ], and decreasing loneliness [ 41 ]. Reverse causation is also possible, for example, if experiencing mental health problems causes some individuals to seek out music engagement as a treatment. Longitudinal and genetically informative studies can help differentiate correlated risk factors (i.e., genetic/environmental correlations) from causal effects of music engagement (Fig. 2 , blue arrows) [ 102 ].

Path 2: Engagement with music reduces the impact of genetic risk

Second, genetic and environmental influences may interact with each other to influence a phenotype. For example, individual differences in music achievement are more pronounced in those who engage in practice or had musically enriched childhood environments [ 97 , 98 ]. Thus, music exposures may not influence mental health traits directly but could impact the strength of the association between genetic risk factors and the emergence of trait-level symptoms and/or clinical diagnoses. Such associations might manifest as decreased heritability of trait-level symptoms in musicians vs. non-musicians (upper red arrow in Fig. 2 ). Alternatively, if individuals high in neuroticism use music to help regulate their emotions [ 34 , 35 ], those who are not exposed to music environments might show stronger associations between neuroticism and later depressive symptoms or diagnoses than those engaged with music (lower red arrow in Fig. 2 ). Elucidating these possibilities will help disentangle the complex associations between music and mental health and could be used to identify which individuals would benefit most from a music intervention (especially preventative interventions). Later, we describe some specific study designs that can test hypotheses regarding this gene-environment interplay.

Path 3: Music engagement improves the efficacy of treatment (or acts as a treatment)

For individuals who experience severe problems (e.g., MDD, SUDs), engaging with music may reduce symptoms or improve treatment outcomes. This is the primary goal of most music intervention studies [ 27 , 33 ] (Fig. 2 , gold arrow). However, and this is one of the central messages of this model, it is important to consider interventions in the context of the paths discussed above. For example, if music engagement is genetically correlated with increased risk for internalizing or externalizing problems (Path 1) and/or if individuals at high genetic risk for mental health problems have already been using music engagement to develop strategies to deal with subthreshold symptoms (Path 2), then may be more likely to choose music interventions over other alternatives and find them more successful. Indeed, the beneficial aspects of music training on cognitive abilities appear to be drastically reduced in samples that were randomly sampled [ 103 ]. Therefore, along with other necessary reporting standards discussed above [ 32 , 33 ], it will be useful for studies to report participants’ prior music experience and consider these exposures in evaluating the efficacy of interventions.

Path 4: Music engagement influences brain structure and function

Exploring associations between music engagement and brain structure and function will be necessary to elucidate the mechanisms driving the three paths outlined above. Indeed, there are strong links between music listening and reward centers of the brain [ 104 , 105 ] including the nucleus accumbens [ 106 , 107 ] and ventral tegmental areas [ 108 ] that are implicated in the reward system for all drugs of abuse [ 109 , 110 , 111 , 112 ] and may relate to internalizing problems [ 113 , 114 , 115 ]. Moreover, activity in the caudate may simultaneously influence rhythmic sensorimotor synchronization, monetary reward processing, and prosocial behavior [ 116 ]. Furthermore, music listening may help individuals control the effect of emotional stimuli on autonomic and physiological responses (e.g., in the hypothalamus) and has been shown to induce the endorphinergic response blocked by naloxone, an opioid antagonist [ 18 , 117 ].

This work focusing on music listening and reward processing has not been extended to music making (i.e., active music engagement), though some differences in brain structure and plasticity between musicians and non-musicians have been observed for white matter (e.g., greater fractional anisotropy in corpus callosum and superior longitudinal fasciculus) [ 118 , 119 , 120 , 121 ]. In addition, longitudinal studies have revealed that instrument players show more rapid cortical thickness maturation in prefrontal and parietal areas implicated in emotion and impulse control compared to non-musician children/adolescents [ 122 ]. Importantly, because the existing evidence is primarily correlational, these cross-sectional and longitudinal structural differences between musicians and non-musicians could be explained by genetic correlations, effects of music training, or both, making them potentially relevant to multiple paths in our model (Fig. 2 ). Examining neural correlates of music engagement in more detail will shed light on these possibilities and advance our understanding of the correlates and consequences of music engagement, and the mechanisms that drive the associations discussed above.

New approaches to studying music and mental health

Using our theoretical model as a guide, we next highlight key avenues of research that will help disentangle these music-mental health associations using state-of-the-art approaches. They include the use of (1) genetic designs, (2) neuroimaging methods, and (3) large biobanks of EHRs.

Genetic designs

Genetic designs provide a window into the biological underpinnings of music engagement [ 123 ]. Understanding the contribution of genetic risk factors is crucial to test causal or mechanistic models regarding potential associations with mental health. At the most basic level, twin and family studies can estimate genetic correlations among music ability or engagement measures and mental health traits or diagnoses. Genetic associations can be examined while simultaneously quantifying environmental correlations, as well as evaluating (bidirectional) causal associations, by testing competing models or averaging across different candidate models [ 102 , 124 ], informing Path 1.

By leveraging samples with genomic, music engagement, and mental health data, investigators can also examine whether individuals at higher genetic risk for psychopathology (e.g., for MDD) show stronger associations between music engagement measures and their mental health outcomes (Path 2). As a theoretical example, individuals with low genetic risk for MDD are unlikely to have many depressive symptoms regardless of their music engagement, so the association between depressive symptoms and music engagement may be weak if focusing on these individuals. However, individuals at high genetic risk for MDD who engage with music may have fewer symptoms than their non-musician peers (i.e., a stronger negative correlation). This is in line with recent work revealing the heritability of depression is doubled in trauma exposed compared to non-trauma exposed individuals [ 125 ].

Gene–environment interaction studies using polygenic scores (i.e., summed indices of genetic risk based on genome-wide association studies; GWAS) are becoming more common [ 126 , 127 ]. There are already multiple large GWAS of internalizing and externalizing traits [ 128 , 129 , 130 ], and the first large-scale GWAS of a music measure indicates that music rhythm is also highly polygenic [ 131 ]. Importantly, is not necessary to have all traits measured in the same sample to examine cross-trait relationships. Studies with only music engagement and genetic data, for example, can still examine how polygenic scores for depression predict music engagement, or interact with music engagement measures to predict other study outcomes. Figure 4 displays an example of a GWAS and how it can be used to compute and apply a polygenic score to test cross-trait predictions.

figure 4

A GWAS are conducted by examining whether individual genetic loci (i.e., single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, depicted with G, A, C, and T labels within a sample (or meta-analysis) differentiate cases from controls. The example is based on a dichotomous mental health trait (e.g., major depressive disorder diagnosis), but GWAS can be applied to other dichotomous and continuous phenotypes, such as trait anxiety, musician status, or hours of music practice. Importantly, rather than examining associations on a gene-by-gene basis, GWAS identify relevant genetic loci using SNPs from across the entire genome (typically depicted using a Manhattan plot, such as that displayed at the bottom of A ). B After a GWAS has been conducted on a given trait, researchers can use the output to generate a polygenic score (sometimes called a polygenic risk score) in any new sample with genetic data by summing the GWAS effect sizes for each SNP allele present in a participant’s genome. An individual with a z  = 2.0 would have many risk SNPs for that trait, whereas an individual with z = −2 would have much fewer risk SNPs. C Once a polygenic score is generated for all participants, it can be applied like any other variable in the new sample. In this example, researchers could examine whether musicians are at higher (or lower) genetic risk for a specific disorder. Other more complex analyses are also possible, such as examining how polygenic scores interact with existing predictors (e.g., trauma exposure) or polygenic scores for other traits to influence a phenotype or predict an intervention outcome. Created with BioRender.com.

Finally, longitudinal twin and family studies continue to be a promising resource for understanding the etiology and developmental time-course of the correlates of mental health problems. Such designs can be used to examine whether associations between music and mental health are magnified based on other exposures or psychological constructs (gene-by-environment interactions) [ 132 ], and whether parents engaged with music are more likely to pass down environments that are protective or hazardous for later mental health (gene-environment correlations) in addition to passing on their genes. These studies also provide opportunities to examine whether these associations change across key developmental periods. The publicly available Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, for example, is tracking over 10,000 participants (including twin and sibling pairs) throughout adolescence, with measures of music engagement and exhaustive measures of mental health, cognition, and personality, as well as neuroimaging and genotyping [ 133 , 134 ]. Although most large samples with genomic data still lack measures of music engagement, key musical phenotypes could be added to existing study protocols (or to similar studies under development) with relatively low participant burden [ 135 ]. Musical questionnaires and/or tasks may be much more engaging and enjoyable than other tasks, improving volunteers’ research participation experience.

Neuroimaging

Another way to orient the design of experiments is through the exploration of neural mechanisms by which music might have an impact on mental health. This is an enormous, growing, and sometimes fraught literature, but there is naturally a great potential to link our understanding of neural underpinnings of music listening and engagement with the literature on neural bases of mental health. These advances can inform the mechanisms driving successful interventions and inform who may benefit the most from such interventions. We focus on two areas among many: (1) the activation of reward circuitry by music and (2) the impact music has on dynamic patterns of neural activity, both of which are likely vectors for the interaction of music and mental health and provide examples of potential interactions.

Music and reward

The strong effect of music on our emotions has been clearly grounded in its robust activation of reward circuitry in the brain, and motivational and hedonic effects of music listening have been shown to be specifically modulated by dopamine [ 16 , 105 , 136 ]. The prevalence of reward and dopaminergic dysfunction in mental illness makes this a rich area for future studies. For example, emotional responses to music might be used as a substitute for reward circuit deficiencies in depression, and it is intriguing to consider if music listening or music engagement could potentiate such function [ 137 , 138 ].

Music and brain network dynamics

The search for neuronally based biomarkers of aspects of mental illness has been a central thrust within the field [ 139 ], holding promise for the understanding of heterogeneity within disorders and identification of common mechanistic pathways [ 140 ]. A thorough review is beyond the scope of this paper, but several points of contact can be highlighted that might suggest neuro-mechanistic mediators of musical effects on mental health. For example, neurofeedback-directed upregulation of activity in emotion circuitry has been proposed as a therapy for MDD [ 141 ]. Given the emotional effects of music, there is potential for using musical stimuli as an adjuvant, or as a more actively patient-controlled output target for neurofeedback. Growing interest in measures of the dynamic complexity of brain activity in health and disease as measured by magnetic resonance imaging or magneto/electroencephalography (M/EEG) [ 142 ] provides a second point of contact, with abnormalities in dynamic complexity suggested as indicative of mental illness [ 143 ], while music engagement has been suggested to reflect and perhaps affect dynamic complexity [ 144 , 145 ].

The caveats identified in this review apply equally to such neuro-mechanistic studies [ 146 ]. High-quality experimental design (involving appropriate controls and randomized design) has been repeatedly shown to be critical to providing reliable evidence for non-music outcomes of music engagement [ 103 ]. For such studies to have maximal impact, analysis of M/EEG activity not at the scalp level, but at the source level, has been shown to improve the power of biomarkers, and their mechanistic interpretability [ 147 , 148 ]. Moreover, as with genetic influences that typically influence a trait through a multitude of small individual effects [ 149 ], the neural underpinnings of music-mental health associations may be highly multivariate. In the longer term, leveraging large-scale studies and large-scale data standardization and aggregation hold the promise of gleaning deeper cross-domain insights, for which current experimentalists can prepare by adopting standards for the documentation, annotation, and storage of data [ 150 ].

Biobanks and electronic health records

Finally, the use of EHR databases can be useful in quantifying associations between music engagement and mental health in large samples. EHR databases can include hundreds of thousands of records and allow for examination with International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems codes, including MDD, SUD, and schizophrenia diagnoses. This would allow for powerful estimates of music-mental health associations, and exploration of music engagement with other health outcomes.

The principal roadblock to this type of research is that extensive music phenotypes are not readily available in EHRs. However, there are multiple ways to bypass this limitation. First, medical records can be scraped using text-mining tools to identify cases of musician-related terms (e.g., “musician”, “guitarist”, “violinist”). For example, the phenome-wide association study described earlier [ 55 ] compared musician cases and controls identified in a large EHR database through text-mining of medical records and validated with extensive manual review charts. This study was highly powered to detect associations with internalizing and thought disorders (but showed null or protective effects for musicians for SUDs). Many EHR databases also include genomic data, allowing for integration with genetic models even in the absence of music data (e.g., exploring whether individuals with strong genetic predispositions for musical ability are at elevated or reduced risk for specific health diagnosis).

EHRs could also be used as recruitment tools, allowing researchers to collect additional data for relevant music engagement variables and compare with existing mental health diagnoses without having to conduct their own diagnostic interviews. These systems are not only relevant to individual differences research but could also be used to identify patients for possible enrollment in intervention studies. Furthermore, if recruitment for individual differences or intervention studies is done in patient waiting rooms of specific clinics, researchers can target specific populations of interest, have participants complete some relevant questionnaires while they wait, and be granted access to medical record data without having to conduct medical interviews themselves.

Concluding remarks

Music engagement, a uniquely human trait which has a powerful impact on our everyday experience, is deeply tied with our social and cultural identities as well as our personality and cognition. The relevance of music engagement to mental health, and its potential use as a therapeutic tool, has been studied for decades, but this research had not yet cohered into a clear picture. Our scoping review and framework integrated across a breadth of smaller literatures (including extant reviews and meta-analyses) relating music engagement to mental health traits and treatment effects, though it was potentially limited due to the lack of systematic literature search or formal quality appraisal of individual studies. Taken together, the current body of literature suggests that music engagement may provide an outlet for individuals who are experiencing internalizing, externalizing, or thought disorder problems, potentially supporting emotion regulation through multiple neurobiological pathways (e.g., reward center activity). Conducting more rigorous experimental intervention studies, improving reporting standards, and harnessing large-scale population-wide data in combination with new genetic analytic methods will help us achieve a better understanding of how music engagement relates to these mental health traits. We have presented a framework that illustrates why it will be vital to consider genetic and environmental risk factors when examining these associations, leading to new avenues for understanding the mechanisms by which music engagement and existing risk factors interact to support mental health and well-being.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by NIH grants DP2HD098859, R01AA028411, R61MH123029, R21DC016710, U01DA04112, and R03AG065643, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) research lab grants 1863278-38 and 1855526-38, and National Science Foundation grant 1926794. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or National Endowment for the Arts. The authors would like to thank Navya Thakkar and Gabija Zilinskaite for their assistance.

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Gustavson, D.E., Coleman, P.L., Iversen, J.R. et al. Mental health and music engagement: review, framework, and guidelines for future studies. Transl Psychiatry 11 , 370 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01483-8

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research questions about music

206 Best Music Research Topics That Rock The Stage

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Music is one of the greatest sensations in human life. If you are writing a music research paper, you have to make sure that the topic is eye-catching. Most importantly, it should move and make you dance yourself. The topic that you are not interested in will not only make you weary, but the results would be unsatisfying too. That is why our writers have found music research paper topics for you to save the day. We love music very much, and so  our team  offers an Academic paper writing service , so you can trust word.

Table of Contents

Music Research Topics: History, Technical Music, Contemporary And More

Although our writers mainly offer research paper writing services , they did not hesitate for a bit when we asked them to come up with some music research topics for you. You can use any of these 206 topics for free and modify them to fit your needs and match your taste. Read on!

Music History Research Topics

music history research topics

  • Use of songwriting in relation to the political and social situations in Nazi Germany and the French Revolution
  • Musical Education between two centuries
  • Evolution in the definition of music over the centuries
  • Birth of Music in Mesopotamia
  • Impact of Arab-Andalusian music on renaissance
  • Folklore bands of wind music, a cultural manifestation of the people and for the people
  • Harmonic implications studied by Pythagoras
  • Music from Ancient Greek
  • Importance of Music in Greek Mythology
  • Song of the Sirens in the evolution of music
  • Greece, music, poetry, and dance
  • Athens was a center of musical poets in BC era
  • Classical Greek Style Music
  • Yanni: A Musician that fuses Modern and Classical Greek Music into one
  • Role of Music in Greek Tragedy
  • Famous musical-dramatic pieces
  • Heroic poets: Arab poets that formed the bases of European music
  • Performances in amphitheatres by singers-actors-dancers
  • Classical musician considered himself more of a performer than an author
  • Ritual dance with kettledrums around the fire: Musical Traditions of Pagan cultures
  • Classification of primitive musical instruments
  • Music in China
  • Music in Mayan Tradition
  • Apache and Native American Music
  • How Africans and Columbians formed the modern American music
  • The musical theory and the instruments used in Japan
  • Bagaki for Japanese Emperor ceremonies
  • Evolution of Indian Music
  • Music in the Mughal Empire
  • Anarkali: A musical myth with a royal background
  • Christian Music, Hymns and Choirs

Read More:  Psychology Research Paper Topics

Technical Music research topics

technical music research topics

  • Similarity measures, including rhythmic and melodic similarity.
  • Phylogenetic analysis of music.
  • National Center for Music Diffusion
  • Mathematical measures of rhythmic complexity and syncopation
  • Musical transformations of rhythm and melody
  • Automatic analysis of traditional music, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and African music
  • The mathematical theory of rhythm
  • Musical constructivism
  • Model models (MM) and counter models (CM)
  • The role of sound design in video games and its application to contemporary independent works
  • Mathematical and computational modeling of musical phenomena (grouping, phrasing, tension, etc.)
  • A mathematical theory of tuning and temperament systems
  • Teaching mathematics through art
  • Music visualization
  • History of Modern Columbian Music
  • Acoustic-instrumental composition, electroacoustic and sound art
  • Interpretation and musical investigation
  • sound production
  • Transcription and music editing
  • Recovery of musical heritage
  • Studies of music, literature, culture, and colonial anthropology
  • Music by European composers of the 16th century (Renaissance)
  • Education and technology in educational scenarios of musical training

Read More:  Finance Research Topics

Music Argument Topics

music argument topics

  • Visual Media Music Studio
  • Music as an important expression in the history of the world
  • Conversations about music, culture, and identity
  • The architectural space as a link between music and the citizen
  • Music Schools for children and young people with limited resources
  • Role of practice and need for devotion in learning and acing the musical skills

Read More:  Accounting Research Topics

Contemporary Music research topics

contemporary music research topics

  • Impact of Coke Studio: From Pakistan to take over the world
  • Effects of Modern Music on Youth
  • Musical Martyrs: Freddie Mercury, Amy Winehouse, Elvis Presley
  • Music of Hans Zimmer
  • Production and exhibition of contemporary music
  • Entertainment and music centres
  • Non-formal music schools
  • Music and education today
  • Contemporary Mexican music
  • Satanism movement in modern music
  • Western musical history and “modern” music
  • Journey of Music: From the Medieval Family to the Modern Family
  • Importance of Opera in the modern age
  • Evolution of music over time: From orchestra to electric
  • Self-management and promotion of independent music
  • Music of electric musicians: Alan Walker, Serhat Durmus, Chain Smokers
  • Modern Music, A Wonderful Expression
  • The idiomatic reality of the English language
  • Modern Music in the United States
  • Current music pedagogy
  • Music education in the twentieth century

Read More:  Research Paper Topics

Classic Music Research Topics

classic music research topics

  • Classic music of South Asia
  • Classic music of Africa
  • Classic Arab music, the influence of Soad, Um Kalthum
  • What makes classic music so important and why do we still have to reserve it?
  • Music of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms
  • Use of classic music in the film
  • Beethoven: How he lived, composed and died
  • Life and music of Mozart
  • Classical music by Afro-American women
  • Music in classical films
  • Greatest compositions of 19-20th centuries
  • Style and compositions of Einaudi
  • Music during the classical period
  • Classical Music Criticism

Read More:  Business Research Topics

African music research topics

african music research topics

  • The Effects of Slave Music on American History and African-American Music
  • The use of Afro-Caribbean rhythms for the construction of jazz musical moments
  • African folk music of Cuba
  • History of African-American Popular Music
  • African diversity in music
  • The study of the oral and musical traditions of the Afro-Mexicans
  • Studies of African Musical History and Its relationship with modern society
  • South African influences on American music
  • African music in Mali
  • African music: South Africa
  • Music of the Middle East and North Africa

Read More:  Nursing Research Topics

Pop Culture Music Research Topics

pop culture music research topics

  • The pedagogical models of popular music
  • Music throughout the decades of musicals
  • Brad Paisley and Country Music
  • The Effects of Music on the popular culture
  • Hip-hop/rap music: One of the most popular musical genres
  • The influence of rap music on teenagers
  • Irish Music: Music and Touch Other Irish Dance Music

Read More:  Qualitative Research Topics

Music Theory Topics

music theory topics

  • Genre and music preferences
  • The effect of instrumental music on word recall memory
  • Sample Music and Wellness
  • The music industry
  • The Theme of Death in a Musical 
  • The Effects of Globalization on MusicMusic psychology research topics
  • The potential of music therapy to develop soft skills at the organizational level
  • Listening to music as a way to relieve stress for teens
  • The impact of theatricality within contemporary popular music concerts of the psychedelic, glam, and progressive rock genre 
  • Trying music as therapy
  • How music can help students with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder)
  • How can music help reduce work stress and maintain a healthy work environment
  • Musical manifestations of man consist of the externalization

Read More:  US History Research Topics

Music Education Research Topics

music education research topics

  • New pragmatism in music education
  • Importance and effects of musical education
  • Philosophy of Music Education
  • Music, a tool to educate
  • Competencies in music education
  • Music as a strategy to encourage children’s effective learning 
  • Interconnection between music and education
  • Philosophy of musical education

Read More: High School Research Paper Topics

Persuasive Speech Topics About Music

persuasive speech topics about music

  • The music is a true reflection of the essay of American society
  • Music and Its Effects on Society 
  • Matter Of Metal Music
  • Beethoven’s Twelfth Symphony: the second movement of the symphonic essay
  • Messages in music
  • The benefits of music trial
  • Does music affect blood pressure?
  • Music Industry Research: An Epic Battle With Youtube
  • Entertainment and education Via music
  • Whitman’s music as a means of expression
  • Music and its Effect on the World
  • Music: Essay on Music and Learning Disabilities

Read More:  Political Science Research Topics

Music Controversial Topics

music controversial topics

  • Whether or not profanations in music corrupt our youth
  • Drugs and rock and roll
  • Piracy and the music industry
  • Music censorship is a violation of freedom of expression
  • Music censorship
  • The use and overuse of the music

Read More:  Criminal Justice Research Paper Topics

Music Industry Topics

music industry topics

  • Freedom of expression and rap music
  • Censorship in the music industry
  • Influence of music on culture
  • Analysis of Iranian film music
  • Analysis of the Turkish Music Industry
  • Analysis of the South Asian Music Industry
  • Coke Studio Making and Global Impact
  • The digital revolution: how technology changed the workflow of music composers for media
  • Video music as matter in motion
  • Acoustic and interpretive characteristics of the instruments
  • The study of musical composition based on pictorial works
  • Musical prosody of the interpretation

Read More:  Social Work Research Topics

Arab Music Research Paper Topic

arab music research paper topic

  • Arab music industry: Evolution after colonialism
  • Music of Middle
  • Umm Kulthum: Effects on global music
  • How the Arab music still impacts Asian and American Music
  • Effects of Arab music in popular French music
  • Turkish and Arab Music: A Beautiful cultural fusion
  • Arab Heroic Poets of Andalus and how they formed modern European music
  • Revival of Arab music through electrical genre

Read More:  Medical Research Topics

Music Thesis Topics

music thesis topics

  • Film Industry Classical Music
  • Finding Meaning in a Musical 
  • Music and its effect on my interpretation
  • How music can interact with politics
  • Musical phrases and the modal centres of interest of the melody 
  • Effect of ambient music on sleep trials
  • Main characteristics of the musical organization
  • Study Of Cadences And Other Harmonic Processes In The Light Of Consonance And Dissonance Theories
  • Theoretical-experimental Study Of Percussion, Wind And String Instruments
  • Recognition Of The Instruments Of The Orchestra
  • Compositive Algorithms Using Unconventional Musical Magnitudes
  • Development Of A Microtonal Harmony As A Generalization Of The Common Practice Period
  • Mechanism related to the recognition of specific emotions in music
  • Musical emotion (emotion induction)

Read More:  Biology Research Paper Topics

High School Research Paper Topics on Music

high school research paper topics on music

  • Correlation Between Personality and Musical Preferences Essay
  • Effects of Rock Music on Teenagers
  • Does popular music stay popular?
  • The effect of music on the interpretation of a musical
  • Musical activities in a spiral of development
  • Adolescents in the understanding of contemporary processes of music
  • Musical activities in the content system
  • Music and the value of responsibility
  • Presentation of musical fragments, Performance of live or recorded musical instruments
  • Life stories of composers and musical personalities such as Mozart and Beethoven
  • Presentation of music related to tastes and socio-educational reality
  • Exhibition of musical fragments and execution of instruments
  • Presentation of different types of music, the performance of musical instruments live or recorded
  • Experience composing music, with lyrics, instrumental or with sounds from the environment, what musical genre or type of sound production does it represent?
  • The practice of the studied musical instruments, record the meanings that guide your performance and preparation as a student and for life
  • Why is compliance with the vocal techniques of singing a duty that must be assumed consciously?
  • Does all music express sound? Does every sound express a genre or type of music?
  • Practice sound emission and tuning techniques
  • Why is it important to make movements according to the type of music you listen to?

Music is one of the greatest inventions of the human race. All good music makes your heart beat a little faster and soothes your mind into peace. It has been evolving since the dawn of civilization, 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Whatever research you make about it, just make sure that it touches your heart. 

If you want to save your time and get your music research paper written by us, you are in for good news. We offer the best research paper writing services in the USA. You can  contact us  to discuss your research paper. You can also  place your order  and we can start working on your research paper right away. 

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216 Awesome Music Topics That Will Inspire Your Thesis

music topics

On this page, you will find the ultimate list of 216 brand new, 100% original music topics for high school, college and university students. No, it’s not a trick! You can use any of our topics about music for free and you don’t even have to give us credit. Many of these research topics on music should work great in 2023.

In addition, we have the best step by step guide to writing a research paper right here on this page. Just like the topics, you can read the guide for free. It will help you stay focused on what’s important and ensure you don’t miss any steps. And remember, if you need assistance with your academic writing tasks, our native English-speaking writers are the most reliable on the Internet!

Writing A Research Paper About Music

So, what is music? Music is a form of art that uses sound and rhythm to create an emotional or aesthetic experience. It can be created by combining different elements such as melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre. Music is a universal language that can be found in all cultures and has been an important part of human history for thousands of years. It can evoke emotions, tell stories, and communicate ideas. Music can take many forms, including vocal or instrumental, solo or ensemble, live or recorded, and can be classified into various genres such as rock, pop, classical, jazz, and many more.

But how do you write a research paper about music quickly? Well, we have a great step by step guide for you right here.

Choose a music topic. Select a topic that interests you and that you have enough background knowledge on to research and write about. Conduct research. Use a variety of sources to gather information on your topic, including books, academic journals, online databases, and primary sources such as interviews or musical recordings. Organize your research. Once you have gathered enough information, organize your research into an outline or a mind map to help you visualize how your paper will flow. Write a thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be a concise statement that summarizes the main argument of your paper. Write a rough draft. Begin writing your paper using the information you have gathered and the outline or mind map you created. Focus on creating a clear and coherent argument, and be sure to cite all sources using the appropriate citation style. Help with coursework services can aid you in succeeding with this part. Revise and edit. Once you have completed a rough draft, revise and edit your paper to improve its clarity, organization, and coherence. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure all citations are correct and properly formatted. Create a bibliography or works cited page. Include a list of all sources you used in your research, including books, articles, interviews, and recordings. Finalize your paper. After making all necessary revisions and edits, finalize your paper and ensure that it meets all the requirements set by your instructor or professor. Proofread everything and make sure it’s perfectly written. You don’t want to lose points over some typos, do you?

Easy Research Topics About Music

  • The history and evolution of hip-hop culture
  • The impact of classical music on modern composers
  • The role of music in therapy for mental health
  • The cultural significance of jazz in African-American communities
  • The influence of traditional folk music on contemporary artists
  • The development of electronic music over the past decade
  • The use of music in film to enhance storytelling
  • The rise of K-pop and its global popularity
  • The effects of music on our learning abilities
  • The use of music in branding in the fashion industry
  • The influence of the Beatles on popular music
  • The intersection of music and politics in the 1960s
  • The cultural significance of reggae music in Jamaica
  • The history and evolution of country music in America
  • The impact of music streaming on the music industry

Opinion Essay Music Topics

  • Music piracy: Should it be considered a serious crime?
  • Should music education be mandatory in schools?
  • Is autotune ruining the quality of music?
  • Are music awards shows still relevant in today’s industry?
  • Should music lyrics be censored for explicit content?
  • Is it fair that some musicians earn more money than others?
  • Is classical music still relevant in modern society?
  • Should music festivals have age restrictions for attendees?
  • Is it fair for musicians to be judged on their personal lives?
  • Is the current state of the music industry sustainable?
  • Should musicians be held accountable for the messages in their lyrics?
  • Is the role of the record label still important in the age of digital music?
  • Should musicians be able to express their political views in their music?
  • Does the use of music in movies and TV shows enhance or detract from the storytelling?

Interesting Music Research Topics

  • The impact of music on athletic performance
  • The use of music in advertising and consumer behavior
  • The role of music in enhancing cognitive abilities
  • The effects of music on stress reduction and relaxation
  • The cultural significance of music in indigenous communities
  • The influence of music on fashion and style trends
  • The evolution of protest music and its impact on society
  • The effects of music on Alzheimer’s disease
  • The intersection of music and technology in the music industry
  • The effects of music on emotional intelligence and empathy
  • The cultural significance of hip hop music in the African diaspora
  • The influence of music on human behavior and decision-making
  • The effects of music on physical performance and exercise
  • The role of music in promoting social and political activism

Research Paper Topics On Music

  • The effects of music on the brain and mental health
  • The impact of streaming on the music industry
  • The history and evolution of rap music
  • The cultural significance of traditional folk music
  • The use of music in video games to enhance the gaming experience
  • The role of music in religious and spiritual practices
  • The effects of music on memory and learning
  • The development of rock and roll in America
  • The intersection of music and politics in the 21st century
  • The cultural significance of country music in the South
  • The use of music in autism therapy
  • The impact of social media on music promotion and marketing
  • The influence of music on the LGBTQ+ community
  • The effects of music on social behavior and interaction

Argumentative Essay Topics About Music

  • Does music have a negative effect on behavior?
  • Is streaming music harming the music industry?
  • Can music censorship be justified in certain cases?
  • Is cultural appropriation a problem in the music industry?
  • Should musicians be held accountable for controversial lyrics?
  • Is autotune a helpful tool or a crutch for musicians?
  • Should music education be a required part of the curriculum?
  • Is the use of explicit lyrics in music harmful?
  • Should music festivals be required to have safety measures?
  • Does the use of profanity in music undermine its artistic value?
  • Can music be used to promote political messages effectively?
  • Should musicians be allowed to profit from tragedies?

Current Music Topics To Write About In 2023

  • The rise of TikTok and its impact on music promotion
  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK music
  • The use of virtual concerts and live streaming during COVID-19
  • The influence of social media on music consumption and trends
  • The emergence of new genres and sub-genres in popular music
  • Talk about cancel culture in music
  • The debate over the use of explicit lyrics in music
  • The impact of climate change on music festivals and events
  • The use of artificial intelligence in music production and composition
  • The influence of music on political and social movements
  • The rise of female and non-binary artists in the music industry
  • The effects of globalization on the diversity of music around the world
  • The role of nostalgia in the popularity of music from past decades

Musical Topics About Famous Musicians

  • The life and legacy of Beethoven
  • The impact of Elvis Presley on rock and roll
  • The career and contributions of Bob Dylan
  • The influence of Michael Jackson on pop music
  • The musical evolution of Madonna over time
  • The enduring appeal of the Rolling Stones
  • The career of Prince and his impact on music
  • The contributions of David Bowie to pop culture
  • The iconic sound of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar
  • The impact of Whitney Houston on the music industry
  • The life and career of Freddie Mercury of Queen
  • The artistry and impact of Joni Mitchell
  • The groundbreaking work of Stevie Wonder in R&B
  • The musical legacy of the Beatles and their influence on pop music

Music Research Paper Topics For College

  • The cultural significance of the accordion in folk music
  • The use of sampling in hip-hop and electronic music production
  • The evolution of the drum kit in popular music
  • The significance of Taylor Swift in contemporary country-pop music
  • The effects of drug abuse in the music industry
  • The role of music in shaping political movements and protests
  • The impact of streaming services on the music industry and artists’ income
  • The significance of the Burning Man festival in music and culture
  • The emergence and growth of Afrobeat music globally
  • The role of musical collaboration in the creation of new music genres
  • The use of autotune and other vocal processing tools in pop music
  • The effects of social and political issues on rap music lyrics
  • The significance of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in pop culture
  • The impact of music on emotional regulation and mental health

Our Controversial Music Topics

  • The controversy of the “cancel culture” in US music
  • The impact of music piracy on the industry and artists
  • The ethical concerns of music sampling without permission
  • The controversy surrounding lip-syncing during live performances
  • The debate over the authenticity of auto-tune in music
  • The controversy surrounding the use of profanity in music
  • The debate over the cultural appropriation of music styles
  • The controversy surrounding music festivals and their impact on local communities
  • The debate over the role of music in promoting violence and aggression
  • The controversy surrounding the ownership of an artist’s discography
  • The ethical concerns of musicians profiting from songs about tragedies and disasters

Captivating Music Thesis Topics

  • The role of music in promoting social justice
  • The impact of music streaming on album sales
  • The significance of lyrics in contemporary pop music
  • The evolution of heavy metal music over time
  • The influence of gospel music on rock and roll
  • The effects of music education on cognitive development
  • The cultural significance of hip-hop music in America
  • The role of music in promoting environmental awareness and activism
  • The impact of music festivals on local economies
  • The evolution of country music and its impact on popular music
  • The use of music in advertising and marketing strategies

Classical Music Topic Ideas

  • The influence of Baroque music on classical music
  • The history and evolution of the symphony orchestra
  • The career and legacy of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • The significance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
  • The evolution of opera as an art form
  • The role of women composers in classical music history
  • The impact of the Romantic era on classical music
  • The use of program music to tell a story through music
  • The significance of the concerto in classical music
  • The influence of Johann Sebastian Bach on classical music
  • The contributions of Antonio Vivaldi to the concerto form
  • The use of counterpoint in classical music composition
  • The role of chamber music in classical music history
  • The significance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah in classical music

Interesting Music Topics For High School

  • The history and evolution of the piano as a musical instrument
  • The significance of Beethoven in classical music
  • The impact of Elvis Presley on US music
  • The emergence and growth of the hip-hop music genre
  • The role of music festivals in contemporary music culture
  • The effects of technology on music production and performance
  • The influence of social media on music promotion and distribution
  • The effects of music on mental health and well-being
  • The role of music in popular culture and media
  • The impact of musical soundtracks on movies and TV shows
  • The use of music therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorder
  • The significance of the Coachella Music Festival in modern music culture
  • The cultural significance of the ukulele in Hawaiian culture

Awesome Music Research Questions For 2023

  • Should musicians be required to use their platform to promote social justice causes?
  • Is music piracy a victimless crime or does it harm the industry?
  • Should music venues be required to provide safe spaces for concertgoers?
  • Is the Grammy Awards selection process biased towards mainstream artists?
  • Should music streaming services pay musicians higher royalties?
  • Is it appropriate for music to be used in political campaign advertisements?
  • Should music journalists be required to disclose their personal biases in reviews?
  • Is it ethical for musicians to profit from songs about tragedies and disasters?
  • Should music education be funded equally across all schools and districts?
  • Is it fair for record labels to own the rights to an artist’s entire discography?
  • Should music festivals have more diverse and inclusive lineups?
  • Should musicians be allowed to use drugs and alcohol as part of their creative process?

Fantastic Music Topics For Research

  • The evolution of the electric guitar in rock music
  • The cultural significance of the sitar in Indian music
  • The impact of synthesizers on contemporary music production
  • The use of technology in the creation and performance of music
  • The influence of Beyoncé on modern pop music
  • The significance of Kendrick Lamar in contemporary rap music
  • The effects of misogyny and sexism in the rap music industry
  • The emergence and growth of K-pop music globally
  • The significance of Coachella Music Festival in the music industry
  • The history and evolution of the Woodstock Music Festival
  • The impact of music festivals on tourism and local economies
  • The role of music festivals in shaping music trends and culture
  • The effects of music piracy on the music industry
  • The impact of social media on the promotion and distribution of music
  • The role of music in the Black Lives Matter movement

Catchy Music Related Research Topics

  • Is hip-hop culture beneficial or harmful to society?
  • Is it ethical to sample music without permission?
  • Should music streaming services censor explicit content?
  • Is auto-tune a valid musical technique or a crutch?
  • Does the music industry unfairly exploit young artists?
  • Should radio stations be required to play a certain percentage of local music?
  • Is the practice of lip-syncing during live performances acceptable?
  • Is music education undervalued and underfunded in schools?
  • Does the use of profanity in music contribute to a decline in society?
  • Should music venues be held accountable for the safety of concertgoers?

Informative Speech Topics About Music

  • The history and evolution of jazz music
  • The cultural significance of classical music in Europe
  • The origins and development of blues music in America
  • The influence of Latin American music on American popular music
  • The impact of technology on music production and distribution
  • The role of music in expressing emotions and feelings
  • The effects of music therapy on mental health and wellbeing
  • The cultural significance of traditional music in Africa
  • The use of music in films and television to create mood and atmosphere
  • The influence of the Beatles on popular music and culture
  • The evolution of electronic dance music (EDM)
  • The role of music in promoting cultural diversity and unity
  • The impact of social media on the music industry and fan culture

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Performing Music Research: Methods in Music Education, Psychology, and Performance Science

Performing Music Research: Methods in Music Education, Psychology, and Performance Science

Performing Music Research: Methods in Music Education, Psychology, and Performance Science

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Performing Music Research is a comprehensive guide to research in music performance. It reviews the knowledge and skills needed to critique existing studies in music education, psychology, and performance science, and to design and carry out new investigations. Methodological approaches are highlighted across the book in ways that help aspiring researchers bring precision to their research questions, select methods that are appropriate for addressing their questions, and apply those methods systematically and rigorously. Each chapter contains a study guide, comprising a chapter summary, a list of keywords, and suggestions for further discussion. The book concludes with a resources section, including a glossary and supplementary material to support advanced statistical analysis. The book’s companion website provides information designed to facilitate access to original research and to test knowledge and understanding.

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15 Fun Music Topics to Research Ideas for Your Music Appreciation Class

music-topics-to-research-blog-header-2023

Finding music topics to research that your music appreciation class will love can be a challenge at times. Fortunately, there are plenty of exciting and interesting music topics to research and explore when it comes to music appreciation. This blog post is jam-packed with fun music topics and ideas that make great projects and assessments for your music class.

Most music topics to research fall under the following broader categories –

  • Musician of Composer Biography

Music History

Music theory, music genres, music of a culture, stylistic features of a genre, elements of music analysis.

History of Musical Instruments

Types of Music Ensembles

  • Instruments of a Culture

Musical Techniques for Performance

Musical techniques for composing, music festivals, music and technology, music for the stage.

5-simple-ways-to-makeover-your-music-curriculum-blog-image-2022

Read on to find out more details for each of these categories for music topics to research, but if you are looking for some more ways to spice up your own music curriculum, then why not grab yourself a FREE copy of the 5 Ways to Makeover Your Music Curriculum. Click here to find out more.

Musician or Composer Biography

One of the easiest and most used music topics to research in the music classroom is the biography of a famous composer throughout history. This type of music research topic can be done on any number of composers throughout history – from Beethoven to Mozart to Bach. Some of the most influential composers in history have left an indelible mark on music as we know it today. Your music students can explore the works of several famous composers from different eras and consider what made them unique and revolutionary for their time period.

If you are looking to use this type of music topic to research with your classes, there are several Bundles available in my TPT store. Use the link here to check them out – all the hard work has been done for you. All you need to do is choose a composer, which pages you want to complete, and you are ready to go! This type of music topics to research make great music research assignments.

Music Composer Bundle

Female Composer Bundle

Music Research Topic idea 3- Music Theory

Although Music Theory is not required knowledge for all musicians out there, exploring musical theory will give your music students a deeper insight into why certain chords sound better than others or what makes a melody memorable! This music research topic could incorporate any type of music theory and some broad music theory research topics include:

  • The History of Music Notation
  • Different Ways that Rhythm is Notated and Counted around the World
  • The Development of Music Scales
  • Music Scales from Around the World
  • Chord Progressions
  • Musical Form of a particular style – Sonata, Symphony, Jazz, Pop, Program Music, etc…

Music Research Topic idea 2- Music History

Another commonly used music topic to research is Music History, and typically the History of European Music. Exploring different time periods of music is a great way to introduce students to the vast range of sounds and styles within the world of music. For this type of music assignment try giving each student a different musical era to research its history, development, notable artists, and influence on other time periods. This is also an effective way to get students comfortable with using various sources for research.

The different musical eras that you could use as a music topic to research are:

  • Early Music to 1400
  • Middle Ages
  • Renaissance
  • 20 th Century – 1900-2000
  • Modern 2000-present

Using Music Genres as a music topic to research can be incredibly broad for students, especially if your study is on contemporary music! For this type of music research topic or assignment try taking a closer look at subgenres within those broader categories such as punk rock or rap/hip hop. You can have your music students research where these subgenres originated from as well as any artists who helped popularize them within their respective scenes.

There are a couple of great websites that can help with this research. Be sure to check them out and try them with your classes. A word of warning – be prepared to go down the rabbit hole and lose a few hours of your time exploring these sites – they’re very interesting!!!!

  • This site is a long list of different musical genres
  • This site has links to music samples and playlists
  • This is another long list of genres, it is a bit easier to navigate, but you do need to create an account
  • This is another list site, but has lots of sub-genres and world music
  • This one is my personal favorite! It has music samples all linked and mapped. You just click on a style and a music sample plays. This one would be best for comparing different styles of music
  • This site has music mapped into a family tree – you can see where a style has it’s origins and influences
  • This music map site has parts to click to get reading passages on each music genre. It would be great to use for researching.

Music Research Topic idea 5- Music of a Culture

Introducing students to different musical cultures from around the globe is one way to show them how versatile and varied music from different regions can sound. Researching individual instruments from each culture allows students to understand how instrumentation contributes to the genre-specific sounds as well as how it has evolved over time due to technological advancements or cultural influences from around the world.

A suggested list of music topics to research for different cultures is below:

  • East Asia and Korea
  • Eastern Europe
  • Native American
  • Philippines
  • South America
  • Southeast Asia
  • Southwest and Central Asia
  • Western Europe and Scandinavia

If you are wanting to incorporate these world music research topics into your music classes, try the Music in Cultures Around the World Bundle

Music Research Topic idea 6- Stylistic Features of a Genre

Writing about music can be an interesting and creative task. With numerous music genres to draw from (see the list of websites above), there are a wealth of music topics to research and music topics for research papers that can provide a substantial focus for your music students. When exploring and researching the stylistic features of music genres, it’s beneficial to go beyond surface level observations. Your students should not only research the history and evolution of their chosen style, but also look at the artists and stylistic features that define the music genre. From the influence of other genres, instruments used, and the performers who have popularized certain sounds, researching the stylistic features of a genre provides an exciting opportunity for exploration.

Music Research Topic idea 7- Elements of Music Analysis

Music analysis using the Elements of Music is an extremely important skill for music students to cultivate and perfect. This type of music research assignment that focuses on music analysis can give your music students a chance to research music topics and apply their knowledge of music theory and composition in order to write about music.

For this type of music research assignment, your music students can choose any piece of music, musician, composer or music style that they want to study. Once they have chosen their area of focus, they can use the Elements of Music to guide their analysis of the music selected for study. By focusing on how each of the Elements of Music are used, your music students will help to improve their listening skills, performance and composition skills as well as their critical thinking and writing skills.

For more information about the Elements of Music read this Blog Post.

If you would like a set of “done for you” music analysis and music appreciation assignments using the Elements of Music, use the link here to check out this best-selling resource!

Music Research Topic idea 8- History of Musical Instruments

Learning about the history of musical instruments can be a fascinating way to explore different cultures and eras. One effective way for music students to learn more about music is to complete an assignment on the history of a musical instrument. This type of music assignment requires students to research music instruments in depth and develop an extended piece of writing on their findings. Through such music topics for research papers, it is possible to gain a better understanding of the methods of sound production by each instrument as well as the many ways that music has shaped society throughout the years. Choosing a unique music instrument such as Japanese drums or stringed instruments from around the world, makes writing about music fun and interesting. When you assign each student a different music research topic, this gives each student the opportunity to explore something specific and meaningful within the larger world of culture and music.

To make it easier for you try these two different Instrument Study resources from my TPT store

Orchestra Instrument Music Worksheets

Music Research Topic idea 9- Types of Music Ensembles

Music can often be a great topic to research and write about, especially music ensembles from around the world. Everything from traditional Chinese music to Bhangra music from India can be explored. Whether it’s the different instruments utilized in an Argentinean folk music ensemble, or the incredible rhythms found within Turkish music, anyone interested in writing about music will have a wealth of music research topics to explore. Even things that you may never have thought of like Candombe music from Uruguay or Soukous music from Congo can be investigated further and provide excellent context for a music research paper. By researching music ensembles from around the world, your music students can gain exceptional insights into cultural backgrounds as well as appreciate the variety of musical ensembles that exist across the world today.

  • Other types of Music Ensembles to Research include:
  • Small Ensembles – duets, trios, quartets, quintets
  • Rock Ensembles – different genres from the power trio to a rock big band
  • Jazz Music Ensembles – Jazz quartets, quintets to big bands
  • Vocal Ensembles – duets, trios, barbershop quartet, a capella groups and choirs
  • Classical Ensembles – string quartet, chamber orchestra to symphony orchestra
  • World Music Ensembles – Taiko drumming, Gamelan, Chinese Orchestra to different Folk Groups

Music Research Topic idea 10- Instruments of a Culture

Musical Instruments of a Culture

Music and instruments from cultures around the world are an intriguing and fascinating field of study. From ancient music that has been passed down through generations to music created in today’s modern era, there is no shortage of music topics for research and writing about music. Your music students can explore the instruments used for various music styles and genres ranging from traditional Indian classical music to reggae music in Jamaica. Studying the use of these instruments, how they are made, and the methods of sound production can provide an understanding of how different cultures view music and its importance within their society. It is also an opportunity to discover a range of sounds, techniques, and instrumentation collected from other countries and regions. Delving into music topics like these opens a unique way to appreciate artists from around the world by examining their use of traditional instruments to express their ideas, stories, cultures, beliefs, emotions, and experiences.

Try the World Instrument Music Worksheets to help you study Instruments of a Culture with your music classes.

Music Research Topic idea 11- Musical Techniques for Performance

Different musical instruments require different performance techniques and practice methods to develop a music student’s proficiency on their instrument. Researching music topics about their own instrument is therefore key to developing a well-rounded music knowledge and building a variety of musical performance skills that your music students can draw on to use in their own performances. When researching the performance techniques on an instrument, it is important to consider the various musical elements that factor into music-making for that instrument such as the different ways to make a sound unique. Additionally, looking at different music cultures that have similar instruments can provide perspective on the essential elements of music-making for any instrument. By researching these music topics and exploring music from diverse cultures, music genres and styles, young musicians can broaden their knowledge and refine their performance techniques.

Music Research Topic idea 12- Musical Techniques for Composing

For those interested in exploring music composition techniques for songwriting, there are a plethora of music topics to research. Experimentation with chord progressions, sound selection and structure can all lead to finding creative ways of writing music. From analyzing music theory and learning more about the basics of music notation to creating unique rhythms and melodies, there might be boundless music topics for research papers that require study and practice.

Your students could choose to study the compositional techniques used within a certain style or genre, or even study more closely about a composer. There are plenty of songs to observe in order to further understand how music works, no matter what area of study the student has chosen. Writing about music involves learning these elements as well as charting any personal progress over time to move closer to using these compositional techniques in their own songwriting.

Music Research Topic idea 13- Music Festivals

A music topic to research that is a little bit unusual would be to research music festivals. Music festivals have a long and varied history. From ancient music festivals that celebrated a variety of religious and cultural events, such as the Dionysius Festival in Athens, music festivals are still vital to many cultures around the world. Music festivals have grown exponentially since then and even today they continue to fascinate people globally.

Today, music festivals can range from traditional, classical music performances in concert halls all the way to modern music performances with huge stages and pyrotechnics at large outdoor concerts drawing tens of thousands of fans. Those looking to research this topic of music have a wealth of options. From legendary music composers or artists, music industry trends and the economic benefits, to exploring how music is used as a tool for activism, research on music festivals can be incredibly rewarding for any music student to study.

Music Research Topic idea 14- Music and Technology

The history of music technology has been a fascinating area of music research throughout the years. By exploring music topics related to music technology, your music students can learn more about the music we love and how it came to be. Writing about music technology can take several approaches; from a technical breakdown of specific instruments to an exploration of its roots in social movements, there are music topics for research on music technology spanning almost any interest. Investigating music technology and its influence on music as an artform and the history can open new perspectives into how music is created, performed, and enjoyed today.

Some music technology research topics include:

  • History of Recording
  • History of the Microphone
  • History of Electronic Instruments
  • History of Amplification
  • Or even try a music research topic explaining “How does a …. Work”?

Music Research Topic idea 15- Music for the Stage

Writing about and researching music can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to music for the stage. Depending on the specific topic your student chooses to research, music for theatre plays or musicals could range from orchestral and classical music pieces, to jazz and rock ensembles. In some cases, music for the stage could even be used as accompaniment for spoken words, stories or even dance. Regardless of what type of music is chosen to study, researching music topics about music for the stage allows your music students to further explore genres and understand how music is used in a theatrical context. By studying different types of music from various time periods and regions, your student’s music research paper will become more well-rounded and engaging.

Some Music for the Stage topics include:

  • Musical Theatre
  • Contemporary Dance

These 15 music research topics provide plenty of ideas for creating engaging lessons, research projects, and assignments that focus on both fundamental aspects of musical theory while still allowing room for creativity within each topic itself! Letting your students explore these music topics independently gives them access to invaluable information regarding various aspects related to making and enjoying great music regardless of its musical origin. So why not try one of these 15 fun music research topics with your music classes this year. By using some of these fun music research topics with your classes, you might find teaching music this way will help to ensure your class stays engaged while expanding their understanding of music appreciation!

Until next time

Happy Teaching

Julia from Jooya

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The content of your paper is dictated by your professor's assignment prompt. Read it carefully, as following the guidelines laid out by your professor is crucial to your success. If the assignment prompt confuses you, consider attending your professor's office hour or emailing them for clarification.  MJC research librarians are happy to help you understand the guidelines laid out in your assignment.

Check out these useful links providing guidance and tips for students tasked with writing about music. These links are meant to serve as a supplement to your professor's assignment prompt and the material in this guide.

  • Writing About Music From the Hunter College in New York

Research questions will keep you focused and on task. Sometimes your professor will include specific questions they want addressed within the prompt.  A research librarian can also help you develop questions based on the parameters of the assignment. Below are some generic questions that can help you get started.

  • What biographical/historical  information is important to understanding your composer?
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  • What are your composer’s  major works ?
  • What is the most significant contribution of  your composer? Why?
  • Did  your composer’s music change over time? How? Why?
  • What specific musical elements does  composer incorporate into their work? To what effect?
  • What styles/themes does  your composer explore?
  • What other musicians have been influenced by  your composer

Below are some basic search terms that work well in our databases. A research librarian can also help you identify additional terms supporting your specific assignment.

Music -- History and criticism

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This page offers a selection of online resources relevant to music and interdisciplinary studies. Some books only have a chapter, or a case study, that applies to music, performance or creative practice. To discuss a particular kind of research methodology, you can meet a librarian online , or email [email protected].

SAGE research methods online  SAGE Research Methods Online (SRMO) enables researchers to browse by methods to find design research projects, particular methods or to discover a new method. Since SRMO focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, use music as a keyword to find applications to music research. You can also use the Methods Map  to read definitions of key terminology, or to find narrower definitions for qualitative data analysis  or research design.

Sage research methods foundations SAGE Research Methods Foundations is a concise introduction to methods and research terms. A targeted list of entries guides users through the content and the navigation menu puts the entry in context, so users can easily find more general topics related to a method, or continue on to more specific sub-topics. An A-Z section on the innovators of methods, has profiles evaluating their contributions, from Participatory and Arts-Based Research, Analysis of Material Culture, Narrative Research, Autobiography to Sampling.

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Practice-as-Research in Music Performance 

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The Orpheus Institute Series aims to enhance and advance discourse in the field of artistic research in music and to generate future work. A number of titles in the series are found below. The library has access to all the titles through JSTOR .

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Oxford Handbooks Online   brings together the world's leading scholars to write review essays that evaluate the current thinking on a field or topic. You can search simultaneously across all handbooks by keywords. Methodologies are discussed in the following selectied chapters:

Toward a Methodology for Research into the Revival of Musical Life after War, Natural Disaster, Bans on All Music, or Neglect   by Margaret Kartomi from The Oxford handbook of music revival (2014) Music-Making As Data: Collection and Analysis   by Kristen Pellegrino from The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research in American Music Education (2014) Creating a Framework for Music Making and Leisure: Max Kaplan Leads the Way by Marie McCarthy from the Oxford handbook of music making and leisure (2017) Introduction: Situating Country Music Studies by Travis D. Stimeling from The Oxford handbook of country music studies (2017)

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Methodology of Music Research is a series published by Peter Lang in Switzerland.

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Music and neuroscience research for mental health, cognition, and development: Ways forward

Maria agapaki.

1 Department of Early Childhood Education and Care, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway

Elizabeth A. Pinkerton

2 Independent Researcher, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Efthymios Papatzikis

Introduction.

The brain function on music has been a recently developing field of neuroscience that holds a position of great interest to neuroscientists, psychologists, health professionals, and musicians alike. The primary goal of investigating music and the brain has been to determine particular neural correlates that are involved in or altered by the engagement of humans with music. It can be said that the study of the neuroscience behind music is a discussion regarding human behavior, environmental stimuli, and how that can be represented in our physiology, as well as how our brain structure allows us to interact with such stimuli in a unique and functional way.

Music is a complex phenomenon that employs, from very early in life, widespread neural activity in interconnected regions of sensory perception (Papatzikis et al., 2019 ), and ranging from the auditory cortex (Brattico et al., 2006 ; Allen et al., 2017 ) to the motor system (Furukawa et al., 2017 ; Bashwiner and Bacon, 2019 ) during active and passive music listening or instrument training. By the same token, the music's impact has been greatly correlated to both ontogenetic and phylogenetic neuroplastic changes (Papatzikis and Rishoni, 2022 ), showcasing a strong link to human brain function proven through a plethora of neuroimaging modalities [please see for example (Lin et al., 2010 ; Cross and Fujioka, 2019 ) for EEG/ERP studies; (Donnay et al., 2014 ) for fMRI; (Chacon-Castano et al., 2017 ) for MEG; (Moore et al., 2014 ) for DTI; (Sluming et al., 2002 ) for Voxel-based Morphometry]. However, emerging data suggest that the association between music and the brain is markedly more intricate than simply the response to sensory stimuli. For instance, music has been implicated in contexts of emotional, social, cultural, and biological influence (Peretz, 2006 ; Koelsch, 2018 ; Savage, 2019 ; Savage et al., 2020 ). Developmental neuroscience has studied the processing and perception of music in the fetal and infant brain and its selective role in environmental enrichment and socioemotional development (Papatzikis and Papatziki, 2016 ; Chorna et al., 2019 ; Arrasmith, 2020 ; Papatzikis et al., 2021 ). Mental health research suggests the potential benefits of music in alleviating symptoms in a variety of neurological and affective disorders ranging from depression and schizophrenia to dementia (Van de Winckel et al., 2004 ; Talwar et al., 2006 ; Lin et al., 2011 ; Gustavson et al., 2021 ). Cognitive studies of attention have even observed executive system efficiency differences when comparing the attentional network test (ANT) scores of the alerting and orienting networks of musicians and non-musicians (Medina and Barraza, 2019 ).

Considering music research encompasses a plethora of fields in psychology and neuroscience, and that the current advancements in neuroimaging technologies have made research questions of interest in the field substantially more feasible and diversified, our investigations require a sufficient foundation of quality and validity that ensures the field to move in an effective progression. The assessment of the primary qualitative and quantitative studies that drive the field forward is a necessary systematic review to acknowledge and evade issues like bias, inadequate methodology, or a reproducibility crisis. Previous exemplary studies of the analysis of research quality in other various fields have summarized challenges and subsequent directions, as in the field of population neuroscience (Paus, 2010 ), or have even provided guidelines to address future studies, as in the field of the neuroscience of information systems (Brocke and Liang, 2014 ). Both approaches advocate such consideration to obtain and maximize the potential of neuroscience research.

Therefore, the quality and logistics of research are significant factors that must be adequately regulated to set a standardized precedent for future experimentation within the field. Without doing so, research in music and neuroscience enables the risk of error, bias, and deficient methodology which, in turn, impedes the progression of the field. For instance, in the field of behavioral neuroscience, Bespalov and Steckler ( 2018 ) suggest a current lack of quality control sparked by criticisms regarding poor design, misreporting, and lack of power. Recognizing that the alternative for inadequate research quality would be that which is credible and valuable, it can be implied there are two possible directions for the neuroscience of music. What current research indicates might give us an understanding of which direction that would be, as well as what to do to avoid such devaluation, further justifying the importance of such quality studies.

The current debate

A great and controversial discussion referring to whether and under what conditions music is involved in the intricate network of cognition, emotional regulation, autonomic activity, behavioral and psychophysiological responses, and ultimately in people's mental health (Lin et al., 2011 ) has emerged from researchers in the field of psychology and neuroscience (Swaminathan and Schellenberg, 2018 ). While most of the researchers have expressed optimism about the benefits of music on cognition (Schellenberg, 2004 ; Slater et al., 2015 ; Tierney et al., 2015 ; Jaschke et al., 2018 ; Nan et al., 2018 ; Barbaroux et al., 2019 ), treatment of psychiatric disorders (Ho et al., 2003 ; Degé and Schwarzer, 2011 ; Chacón-Moscoso et al., 2016 ; Fang et al., 2017 ) as well as on people's overall wellbeing (Hsu and Lai, 2004 ), others have found this enthusiasm unjustified (Sala and Gobet, 2020 ), trying to explain and delineate some research quality failures that arise in the neuroplasticity and music field.

More specifically, in regards to the optimistic point of view, music-based intervention approaches, and practices favor research designs in this domain in relation to implementation and utilitarianism (Reybrouck and Eerola, 2017 ). That is, music can be experienced without necessitating a dedicated sensory organ, the ears, which are its main perceptual apparatus, and after vibrations through the peripheral nervous system, epithelium, and bones induce neuroplastic changes in the human brain. An example of this conclusion is that fetuses and deaf individuals can perceive and respond to music (Chorna et al., 2019 ). Likewise, the infants respond to the rhythmic dimensions of their mothers' speech and emotional tone because of humans' innate ability to engage with the “communicative musicality” of conversation (Lin et al., 2011 ). Also, researchers have found evidence of far-transfer effects related to “therapeutic” traits, or biological and cognitive paths of development (Miendlarzewska and Trost, 2013 ; Carter and Panisch, 2020 ). Typically, this means that a wide range of complex cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and psychophysiological responses can be adjusted through music and, as a result, the mental health of patients with various psychiatric disorders can be improved (Lin et al., 2011 ; Clift, 2012 ; Gustavson et al., 2021 ). Indeed, Gustavson et al. ( 2021 ) have claimed that therapies with active music participation, and structured and multiple sessions have significant positive effects on mood disorders (e.g., depression). Furthermore, Sanfilippo et al. ( 2021 ) have supported that passive music listening reduces anxiety and pain during labor, anxiety symptoms during pregnancy, and postnatal depression.

On the contrary, evidence of systematic reviews or meta-analyses has shown a pessimistic point of view, as described by few, concerning the music's usage and possible direct link to neuroplasticity. According to this literature, there is limited understanding and no clear evidence of how music, directly and indirectly, contributes to mental health (Lin et al., 2011 ; Gustavson et al., 2021 ). Also, the potential causational role of music in cognitive or academic development is very weak (Schellenberg, 2020 ) and conclusions of causation are precluded (Swaminathan and Schellenberg, 2018 ). Therefore, music does not reliably ameliorate psychiatric disorders (Lin et al., 2011 ) and enhance cognitive or academic skills, and there are non-pragmatic neuroplastic changes due to the inability to be reported as a causational link between music and neuroplastic development (Schellenberg, 2020 , p. 430). As a result, positive correlational findings are probably due to confounding (e.g., individual differences) or unidentified variables (i.e., genetic, or demographic factors) that contribute to the confounding ones (Schellenberg, 2020 , p. 431). Besides, far transfer effects of music on development and mental health appear to be an extremely rare occurrence, an over-optimistic and incorrect view, as they stem from a misinterpretation of the empirical data and possibly confirmation bias (Sala and Gobet, 2020 ). For example, Swaminathan et al. ( 2017 ) showed that the correlation between fluid intelligence and engagement in music in a sample of adults was mediated by innate personality factors (i.e., music aptitude) and not trained music skills. Based on this finding, the hypothesis that music training boosts cognition or academic skills cannot be supported. In another example of reviews investigating the effect of listening to music on anxiety symptoms during pregnancy, Sanfilippo et al. ( 2021 ) have argued that the positive correlational effect comes from the predominant use of self-reported measures and, as a consequence, it is not evident the exact mechanism through which music achieves the reduction of pregnant women's anxiety symptoms.

Moreover, the results of far transfer studies seem to be inconclusive or contradictory, due to non-specific or occasional methods used, absence of proper and structured classification of far transfer, lack of a structured understanding of music and musicality, as well as differences in neural activation during the processing of the tasks (Jaschke et al., 2013 ; Fang et al., 2017 ). An example that depicts the lack of uniformity in the test methods used is when comparing two different results of far transfer studies: on the one hand, Ho et al. ( 2003 ) did not show a positive transfer effect of music on visual memory, but on the other hand, Schellenberg ( 2004 ) did show a positive effect of music on intelligence using two different and non-specific IQ measures (Raven's standard matrices and general intelligence). Although both studies analyzed intelligence, Schellenberg ( 2004 ) may have a stronger effect sensitivity because of the generalized measures used. Also, as far as the contrasting far transfer results, some researchers claim that musicians may be at higher risk for mental health problems (Wesseldijk et al., 2019 ), but others suggest the opposite (Teorell et al., 2014 ; Johnson et al., 2017 ). As a result, there are no strong generalizations from their findings because of the variability in outcome measures and music intervention used from one study to another (Lin et al., 2011 ). In the same vein, immature field implementation of methods used and many times non-replicable findings are present in studies investigating the effect of music therapy on Alzheimer's Disease (AD) (Fang et al., 2017 ). For that reason, Fang et al. ( 2017 ) have argued that there are not as many clinical trials as possible with cohort, randomized, blinded, and rigorous methodological investigations for music's therapeutic effect on the topic of AD.

Additionally, meta-analyses that examined the causal link between musical and non-musical abilities reported skeptical results as this link is not clear-cut or, in the case of correlational studies, these associations are not always evident (Swaminathan and Schellenberg, 2018 ). Indeed, there are studies that their findings are more liable to yield a positive effect of music on cognition because the researchers adopt non-standard pedagogies (e.g., training in music-listening skills rather than teaching participants to sing or play an instrument) (Swaminathan and Schellenberg, 2018 ) (for example please see Degé and Schwarzer, 2011 ). Apart from that, firm conclusions referring to the protective effect of music on various psychiatric conditions are difficult to be drawn due to the mixed quality regulation shown in many studies (i.e., small sample sizes, lack of appropriate control groups, few interventions with multiple sessions, omitted necessary information such as inclusion/exclusion criteria regarding the intervention, lack of masking of interviewers during post-test, and randomization concealment) (Wesseldijk et al., 2019 ). As a result, it seems that some researchers cannot clarify how music leads to greater people's health and wellbeing (Gustavson et al., 2021 ).

Discussing the ways forward

Many different neuroscientific and clinical studies have proven that music possesses a beneficial role in cognitive, behavioral, and emotional development (Miendlarzewska and Trost, 2013 ; Carter and Panisch, 2020 ), improving also the overall psychophysiological health of patients with various psychiatric disorders (Lin et al., 2011 ; Gustavson et al., 2021 ; Sanfilippo et al., 2021 ). Nonetheless, according to the aforementioned systematic reviews or meta-analyses (please see above for more details), various factors contribute to a blurred outcome due to non-unified research methods, inconsistent results, misinterpretation or distortion of empirical data, and low reproducibility and replicability of scientific findings, to name just a few. Whilst not all of these factors are necessarily problematic, we believe there is “room” for improvement and development in this research field. For this reason, we propose some state-of-the-art approaches to minimizing the frequency of commonly observed limitations, based on potential solutions that are observed to be universal in empirical research (Lin et al., 2011 ; Boutron and Ravaud, 2018 ; Brown et al., 2018 ; Jaschke et al., 2018 ; Sala and Gobet, 2020 ; Gustavson et al., 2021 ; Ganley et al., 2022 ), and likewise can be applied to this specific domain, too.

More specifically, as far as the limitation of non-unified research methods and heterogeneous results, research should perhaps be conducted through more longitudinal randomized controlled trials (RCTs) combined with both clinical and neuroscientific outcome measures, uniform methodological investigations (e.g., different kinds of control groups) and analysis of sub-groups of tasks proposed (Lin et al., 2011 ; Fang et al., 2017 ; Jaschke et al., 2018 ). Following this perspective, more reliable, accurate, and powerful results, and a consistent research protocol on far transfer from music to cognition/mental health studies can be produced. Besides, the interconnection between music, cognition, and mental health will be better disentangled, perhaps implementing new strategies for music therapy (Lin et al., 2011 ).

As far as the restriction of the results' ineffectiveness is concerned, some researchers suggest that a near transfer effect between music and personal development (e.g., self-esteem) could much easier be successful as it focuses on more technical and visible concepts (i.e., self-esteem) rather than far transfer one that represents a broader and less visible concept among music and cognitive development (e.g., music and cognitive development in mathematics) (Sala and Gobet, 2020 ). On the contrary, more demanding experimental intervention studies should be propitious on the limitations' resolution. That is, the use of larger samples, and improved reporting standards, combined with not only psychological, physiological, and neurochemical aspects, but also with genetic and environmental designs (e.g., longitudinal twin and family studies, for more details please see Purcell, 2002 ), neuroimaging methods (focusing on the reward's circuitry activation, and dynamic patterns of brain activity in health and disease due to music), and biobanks of electronic health record (EHRs) databases estimating music-mental health and other related health associations in large samples (Gustavson et al., 2021 ). As a consequence, the exact interactive mechanism across music and existing risk factors supporting mental health and overall wellbeing can be more easily explored by employing the above approaches.

Moreover, regarding the problem of data misinterpretation or distortion, we can suggest five different and essential solutions to resolve this limitation. Firstly, important information on the full experiment protocol, statistical analysis plan, or sequence of analytical choices and raw data for all designed research should be accessible, reducing the risk of confirmation bias (Boutron and Ravaud, 2018 ). Secondly, maximization of the effect-to-bias ratio in research through random group assignment, incorporation of blinding, and heterogeneity (if possible) into the design should be accomplished to enhance generalizability (Boutron and Ravaud, 2018 ). Thirdly, editors' journals should provide recommendations on how results should be interpreted (e.g., guidelines for the proper use and interpretation of statistical tools), how the conclusions should be reported, and how to avoid misrepresentation of data (Boutron and Ravaud, 2018 ). Fourth, researchers should not only raise evidence for systematic reviews or meta-analyses but also evaluate the quality of the papers themselves following standardized scoring systems (e.g., the “QualSyst” tool developed by Kmet et al., 2004 ) specialized for this kind of inquiry (Chacón-Moscoso et al., 2016 ). Lastly, additional training and tools for peer-reviewers and editors should be included in identifying misrepresentation in clinical research reports and outcome measures (Boutron and Ravaud, 2018 ).

Finally, in relation to the low reproducibility and replicability of scientific findings, in one way, universities should increase awareness of problems in research quality and teach their solutions by adding additional courses (e.g., courses on study design or statistical analysis) (Brown et al., 2018 ). In another way, proper funding and personnel for more pilot and feasibility studies should be important, minimizing many small, non-randomized studies with cross-sectional survey data, and a variety of non-validated questionnaires (Brown et al., 2018 ). Also, partnerships across researchers in academia and research organizations outside of academia (e.g., music industries) or private companies should result in the reassurance of data integrity and results in quality generated in this domain (Ganley et al., 2022 ).

Due to the implementation of non-unified and blurred quality methodological standards, more justification and work are needed to explain music's possible causal link to neuroplasticity. Support of future studies may be apprehended through comparable and inter-connected related outcomes, allowing the presentation of new knowledge content and processes. Therefore, given the variability in published results in the specific field and the difficulty of interpreting these results, the development of stronger, more thorough, and more uniform research methods in quality is urgent (Jaschke et al., 2013 ) as has already been stated in the past (Chacón-Moscoso et al., 2016 ). Solutions mentioned previously such as RCTs, larger sample size, the 5 methods of overcoming data bias and error, and more extensive incorporation of study-validity and feasibility assessment would be our suggested manner of approaching such objectives. Thus, future studies of far transfer from music to mental health and cognitive development could be more reliable and accurate (Jaschke et al., 2013 ). However, these solutions should not be considered a panacea, as science will certainly continue to evolve in the future. Instead, they should be approached as “food-for-thought” for researchers, publishers, regulators, and stakeholders (e.g., funding agencies) to move forward.

Author contributions

EPa and MA: conceptualization. EPa: methodology and supervision. MA and EPi: validation and resources. MA, EPi, and EPa: writing—original draft preparation and writing—review and editing. MA: project administration. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

The article publication charge for this work was funded by Oslo Metropolitan University.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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ScienceDaily

Is it a sound of music...or of speech? Scientists uncover how our brains try to tell the difference

Slow and steady waves sound like music while faster and irregular ones like speech.

Music and speech are among the most frequent types of sounds we hear. But how do we identify what we think are differences between the two?

An international team of researchers mapped out this process through a series of experiments -- yielding insights that offer a potential means to optimize therapeutic programs that use music to regain the ability to speak in addressing aphasia. This language disorder afflicts more than 1 in 300 Americans each year, including Wendy Williams and Bruce Willis.

"Although music and speech are different in many ways, ranging from pitch to timbre to sound texture, our results show that the auditory system uses strikingly simple acoustic parameters to distinguish music and speech," explains Andrew Chang, a postdoctoral fellow in New York University's Department of Psychology and the lead author of the paper, which appears in the journal PLOS Biology . "Overall, slower and steady sound clips of mere noise sound more like music while the faster and irregular clips sound more like speech."

Scientists gauge the rate of signals by precise units of measurement: Hertz (Hz). A larger number of Hz means a greater number of occurrences (or cycles) per second than a lower number. For instance, people typically walk at a pace of 1.5 to 2 steps per second, which is 1.5-2 Hz. The beat of Stevie Wonder's 1972 hit "Superstition" is approximately 1.6 Hz, while Anna Karina's 1967 smash "Roller Girl" clocks in at 2 Hz. Speech, in contrast, is typically two to three times faster than that at 4-5 Hz.

It has been well documented that a song's volume, or loudness, over time -- what's known as "amplitude modulation" -- is relatively steady at 1-2 Hz. By contrast, the amplitude modulation of speech is typically 4-5 Hz, meaning its volume changes frequently.

Despite the ubiquity and familiarity of music and speech, scientists previously lacked clear understanding of how we effortlessly and automatically identify a sound as music or speech.

To better understand this process in their PLOS Biology study, Chang and colleagues conducted a series of four experiments in which more than 300 participants listened to a series of audio segments of synthesized music- and speech-like noise of various amplitude modulation speeds and regularity.

The audio noise clips allowed only the detection of volume and speed. The participants were asked to judge whether these ambiguous noise clips, which they were told were noise-masked music or speech, sounded like music or speech. Observing the pattern of participants sorting hundreds of noise clips as either music or speech revealed how much each speed and/or regularity feature affected their judgment between music and speech. It is the auditory version of "seeing faces in the cloud," the scientists conclude: If there's a certain feature in the soundwave that matches listeners' idea of how music or speech should be, even a white noise clip can sound like music or speech. Examples of both music and speech may be downloaded from the research page.

The results showed that our auditory system uses surprisingly simple and basic acoustic parameters to distinguish music and speech: to participants, clips with slower rates (<2Hz) and more regular amplitude modulation sounded more like music, while clips with higher rates (~4Hz) and more irregular amplitude modulation sounded more like speech.

Knowing how the human brain differentiates between music and speech can potentially benefit people with auditory or language disorders such as aphasia, the authors note. Melodic intonation therapy, for instance, is a promising approach to train people with aphasia to sing what they want to say, using their intact "musical mechanisms" to bypass damaged speech mechanisms. Therefore, knowing what makes music and speech similar or distinct in the brain can help design more effective rehabilitation programs.

The paper's other authors were Xiangbin Teng of Chinese University of Hong Kong, M. Florencia Assaneo of National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and David Poeppel, a professor in NYU's Department of Psychology and managing director of the Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in Frankfurt, Germany.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, part of the National Institutes of Health (F32DC018205), and Leon Levy Scholarships in Neuroscience.

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  • Andrew Chang, Xiangbin Teng, M. Florencia Assaneo, David Poeppel. The human auditory system uses amplitude modulation to distinguish music from speech . PLOS Biology , 2024; 22 (5): e3002631 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3002631

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Is It a Sound of Music…or of Speech? Scientists Uncover How Our Brains Try to Tell the Difference

Music and speech are among the most frequent types of sounds we hear. But how do we identify what we think are differences between the two?

An international team of researchers mapped out this process through a series of experiments—yielding insights that offer a potential means to optimize therapeutic programs that use music to regain the ability to speak in addressing aphasia. This language disorder afflicts more than 1 in 300 Americans each year, including Wendy Williams and Bruce Willis.

“Although music and speech are different in many ways, ranging from pitch to timbre to sound texture, our results show that the auditory system uses strikingly simple acoustic parameters to distinguish music and speech,” explains Andrew Chang, a postdoctoral fellow in New York University’s Department of Psychology and the lead author of the paper , which appears in the journal PLOS Biology . “Overall, slower and steady sound clips of mere noise sound more like music while the faster and irregular clips sound more like speech.”

Scientists gauge the rate of signals by precise units of measurement: Hertz (Hz). A larger number of Hz means a greater number of occurrences (or cycles) per second than a lower number. For instance, people typically walk at a pace of 1.5 to 2 steps per second, which is 1.5-2 Hz. The beat of Stevie Wonder’s 1972 hit “ Superstition ” is approximately 1.6 Hz, while Anna Karina’s 1967 smash “ Roller Girl ” clocks in at 2 Hz. Speech, in contrast, is typically two to three times faster than that at 4-5 Hz.

Anna Karina, circa 1967. Photo credit: Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

It has been well  documented  that a song’s volume, or loudness, over time—what’s known as “amplitude modulation”—is relatively steady at 1-2 Hz. By contrast, the amplitude modulation of speech is typically 4-5 Hz, meaning its volume changes frequently.

Despite the ubiquity and familiarity of music and speech, scientists previously lacked clear understanding of how we effortlessly and automatically identify a sound as music or speech.

To better understand this process in their  PLOS Biology  study, Chang and colleagues conducted a series of four experiments in which more than 300 participants listened to a series of audio segments of synthesized music- and speech-like noise of various amplitude modulation speeds and regularity.

The audio noise clips allowed only the detection of volume and speed. The participants were asked to judge whether these ambiguous noise clips, which they were told were noise-masked music or speech, sounded like music or speech. Observing the pattern of  participants sorting hundreds of noise clips as either music or speech revealed how much each speed and/or regularity feature affected their judgment between music and speech. It is the auditory version of “seeing faces in the cloud,” the scientists conclude: If there’s a certain feature in the soundwave that matches listeners’ idea of how music or speech should be, even a white noise clip can sound like music or speech. Examples of both music and speech may be downloaded from the  research page .

Knowing how the human brain differentiates between music and speech can potentially benefit people with auditory or language disorders such as aphasia—melodic intonation therapy is a promising approach to train people with aphasia to sing what they want to say, using their intact “musical mechanisms” to bypass damaged speech mechanisms.

The results showed that our auditory system uses surprisingly simple and basic acoustic parameters to distinguish music and speech: to participants, clips with slower rates (<2Hz) and more regular amplitude modulation sounded more like music, while clips with higher rates (~4Hz) and more irregular amplitude modulation sounded more like speech.

Knowing how the human brain differentiates between music and speech can potentially benefit people with auditory or language disorders such as aphasia, the authors note. Melodic intonation therapy, for instance, is a promising approach to train people with aphasia to sing what they want to say, using their intact “musical mechanisms” to bypass damaged speech mechanisms. Therefore, knowing what makes music and speech similar or distinct in the brain can help design more effective rehabilitation programs.

The paper’s other authors were Xiangbin Teng of Chinese University of Hong Kong, M. Florencia Assaneo of National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and David Poeppel, a professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and managing director of the Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in Frankfurt, Germany.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, part of the National Institutes of Health (F32DC018205), and Leon Levy Scholarships in Neuroscience.

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How Music Can Enhance Your Child’s School Success

Music can support learning in a variety of ways..

Posted May 30, 2024 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch

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Why is it easier to recall lyrics to a song than to memorize a poem? What is the power of emotional connections to some songs we remember years later? How does awareness of making progress in a musical instrument sustain motivated learning effort? The answers to these questions can show you how to support children’s memory , mood, and learning—with music.

Music can promote buy-in to topics of study, opportunities to recognize the power of effort to progress when learning a musical instrument, boost moods, provide memory-enhancing tools, and even expand the brain’s creative potential.

Music Provides Motivation and Improves Mood

Music gives opportunities for children who are having a hard time in school to experience the motivating emotional highs of awareness through their progressive achievement. In addition, information acquired or mentally manipulated through the symbolic representations of music can construct into expanded neural networks for expanded memory and creative insights.

Dopamine Increases Pleasure in Learning

The dopamine -reward system enhances the experience of pleasure, satisfaction, and increased motivation and memory. The desire to seek the pleasurable response to dopamine release can be enhanced by music to facilitate motivated learning and enduring memory.

You can promote your child’s positivity and perseverance by tapping into the power of the dopamine reward cycle. Dopamine boosters associated with learning include choice, optimism , movement, positive interactions with peers, being read to, acting kindly, expressing gratitude , humor , and listening to or playing music .

3 Benefits of Music Incorporation

Music can boost interest in what is to come and and enhance enthusiasm that can keep children’s brains engaged and receptive to learning.

1. More joyful and powerful learning. Playing music that children enjoy, as they do homework or learn new topics and skills, encourages greater dopamine-enhanced experiences. You can provide music related to the school topic, such as a Strauss waltz if they are about to study Austria, or jazz before a discussion of The Great Gatsby . You can play theme music from a game show, such as Jeopardy , before they review for a test.

2. Practice makes progress. Share with your children the following concept: “A process called neuroplasticity is ready to work for you to make your learning stronger and more useful. Every time your brain practices a skill or reviews new learning, the memories and actions strengthen.”

Awareness of their capacity to change their brains can be exemplified through past successes. Encourage children to reflect on their progressive success, such as when they learned to ride a bicycle or to keyboard a computer or phone. Learning a musical instrument is a powerful way to remind them of how their sustained practice over time improved their skills. In addition, if they are motivated to learn a new instrument, you can record their playing at intervals so they can hear for themselves, and be reminded, that practice did result in their progress. These experiences promote their connections, competence, and confidence that they are capable of building their understanding and skills—and that they are changing their brains in positive ways.

personal photo

3. Extended memory and creativity . It is easier to recall the lyrics to a song than to memorize a poem. When children have opportunities to put information they are learning into a familiar tune, rhyme, or song those memories are enhanced. When movement, such as gestures, dance movements, or body position (turn left/right or moving to another place in the room), are used, they add another storage locker for the new information and further increase access to memory.

A study* about the brain’s increased interconnectivity during musical improvisation is compelling: Skilled musicians were placed in a brain scanner and given a keyboard with the request to improvise new music. When they did so, their fMRI scans showed wide-ranging activation and extensive interconnectivity during periods of improvisation far beyond that displayed when performing known melodies.

Additionally, multisensory experiences that include music can extend wider-ranging memory access. When information is learned, practiced, or applied through different senses (hearing, seeing, touching, moving) the memories are stored in multiple regions of the brain. This extended network of information can then be accessed by way of any one of the sensory experiences through which it was incorporated. Incorporating musical experiences as part of learning may increase memory and potentially extend the brain’s interconnectivity of knowledge, promoting recognition of relationships that might not have otherwise been recognized—and in doing so promote creative insights.

What a wonderful opportunity parents have to utilize music to encourage children’s engagement, memory, and experiences of delight from moments of insight. As you integrate more music into your children’s studies, they can engage with learning more joyfully and successfully, potentially expanding their learning into creative discoveries and innovations.

* Limb, C. J., & Braun, A. R. (2008). Neural substrates of spontaneous music performance: An fMRI study of jazz improvisation. PLoS ONE, 3(2), 2-9.

Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed.

Judy Willis , M.D., is a board-certified neurologist and middle school teacher, specializing in classroom strategies derived from brain research.

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Research Reveals How Heavy Metal Singers Scream and Squeal

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Sophia Friesen Manager, Science Communications Email: [email protected]

Deep within the labyrinthine halls of the imaging research center, a gaggle of voice scientists crowded around a small window with expressions of utter astonishment. Trading theories in hushed voices, they peered into the tiny, soundproofed room where their current study participant got ready to do what he did best. As they watched, he cupped his ears, opened his mouth, and roared: a guttural, crocodilian rattle that rolled out from the two-way mic.

Will Ramos sings.

A person with full sleeve tattoos cups his ears as he sings in a recording booth

To those unfamiliar with Will Ramos’ oeuvre, the sound seemed almost inhuman. But as one of the biggest names in deathcore belted out another note—this one strangely resonant, as if he stood in a cave instead of a cramped recording lab—he proved that the human voice is an instrument that defies expectations.   To understand that instrument, the researchers were embarking upon a comprehensive scientific study of the harsh vocals that characterize deathcore and many other musical genres, revealing for the first time the complex internal acrobatics that produce these unique sounds.   “We’re still in the infancy of being able to understand harsh vocals,” said Amanda Stark, PhD, speech-language pathologist in otolaryngology in the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine (SFESOM) and the lead researcher on the study. “The goal is to begin to understand how a scream or a harsh vocal is different from a clean vowel, a spoken sentence, or other singing styles.”

Stark hopes that by breaking down the technique of skilled harsh vocalists like Ramos, she can lay the groundwork for artists to learn harsh vocals safely, prove to the skeptical that these singing styles aren’t inherently damaging, and empower everyday people to explore the full potential of their voices.

Sound Strategy

Collecting high-quality sound recordings was the first step in the process. Capturing each note in the absence of background noise or instrumental accompaniment let the researchers define the precise acoustic differences between, for instance, a “moose scream” and a “pterodactyl scream.”   They could also start to predict which parts of the vocal anatomy, from the larynx to the lips, control different aspects of each sound. But especially in cases like Ramos’s, whose singing styles are understudied in voice science, understanding how the sounds were produced—and whether they’re causing damage—required taking a look at the complex internal workings of the throat.    
This is where the expertise of the Voice, Airway, Swallowing Translational (VAST) research lab came to the fore, as techniques routinely used for patients with voice disorders were repurposed to understand Ramos’s unique sound. The research team looked at Ramos’s vocal cords with an internal camera and used a technique called electromyography to measure the activity of his throat muscles. Finally, they captured video of his internal vocal acrobatics in real time using dynamic MRI. Together, this panel of tests provided a comprehensive view of how Ramos sings, screams, and squeals.

Dynamic MRI of Ramos singing a "clean" (not harsh) note.

Ramos singing harsh vocals.

Elizabeth Zharoff, producer of the YouTube channel The Charismatic Voice, said that electromyography and dynamic MRI analysis were firsts for the musical genre. “Nobody has done this before. Ever,” she added.   The results were stunning, according to Derrik Legler, speech-language pathologist in otolaryngology in SFESOM and a researcher on the study. Song and speech are produced in large part by vibrations of specialized tissue in the throat called the vocal folds. These are attached to cartilage-based structures that normally just open to allow us to breathe and close when we use our voice, but Ramos was torquing his to one side as he sang. “It’s so fascinating,” Legler said. “Watching his throat do that was—it doesn’t usually do that. The human body just doesn’t usually do that.”

Stark hopes that studying vocal specialists like Ramos can expand the scope of what’s possible for everyone with a voice. Professional singers have the expertise to demonstrate a wide range of vocal strategies in a research setting, revealing new aspects of the human voice that are applicable to the population at large.   “If we study these ‘unicorns’ that have this diversity in their sound, it can empower other people to say, ‘I can have that diversity in my own voice,’” Stark said. “‘Holy cow, I don’t have to just expect my voice to sound like this. I can do this.’”

A person in a black blazer stares intensely at a laptop.

Changing the Landscape

There’s a common perception that harsh vocals are physically unhealthy. To the untrained ear, the rough-edged growls of deathcore sound like they must be painful. But while some metal vocalists do damage their voices, others have careers that last for decades with no apparent harm.

Partway through the voice recording session, after Ramos had sung dozens of acoustically distinct vocals, Stark asked him to rank his level of vocal fatigue on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the most fatigued he’d ever felt. “Maybe a two,” Ramos replied, in a completely normal speaking voice. 

Unlike an untrained scream, Ramos's singing doesn't cause vocal strain.

The voice scientists in attendance judged Ramos’ vocal health as “fantastic,” an assessment that was later borne out by the dynamic MRI scans. Ramos had learned how to scream, squeal, and hiss like a teakettle, all without jeopardizing his vocal cords.   By demonstrating that harsh vocals can be sung safely, the researchers hope to reduce the stigma around deathcore and related musical genres. Having a clear picture of how to produce those sounds without compromising vocal health could also help teach aspiring artists to master these styles. “How cool would it be if someone could go to Juilliard to learn harsh vocals?” mused Kirk McCune, COO of The Charismatic Voice. “It changes the landscape of how music can be created.”

Watch Ramos in action in the VAST Lab here.

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A Timeline of Alleged Drake Reference Tracks Leaking

For years, it has been commonly known that Drake uses collaborators to help with his songs and, seemingly, his verses. Here are all the leaked reference tracks to leak so far.

By:  Miki Hellerbach

There was once a time when rappers (especially those who claim to be the best in the world) were expected to pen lyrics solely by themselves. Times have changed, and rap music—which is now more closely associated with pop—has updated the way the creative process works. It has become more common for rappers, producers, and singers to adopt a more collaborative process. No one has signaled this change more than Drake , the most dominant rap artist of the decade.

Since 2011, when there were very loud whispers about The Weeknd’s contributions to Take Care , it has been commonly known that Drake uses collaborators to help with his songs and, seemingly, his verses. (When a reference track leaks, it’s not clear if the artist is getting help with their verses or flow.) 

But on July 22, 2015, Meek Mill officially broke the dam when he tweeted , “Stop comparing drake to me too…. He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out!” Later that day, it was revealed that Atlanta rapper Quentin Miller had allegedly written Drake’s verse on Meek’s 2015 single “R.I.C.O.” Soon after, Atlanta rapper OG Maco tweeted a screen grab of the credits for Drake’s latest project at the time, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, where Miller was credited as a writer on multiple songs, including “6 Man,” “10 Bands,” and “Know Yourself.” The next day, Funkmaster Flex premiered an alleged Quentin Miller reference track for “10 Bands” on Hot 97.

While Drake ended up dominating Meek Mill in the short-lived rap battle that followed, there would be a new question mark around Drake’s hip-hop legitimacy amongst purists. Since then, ten more alleged reference tracks have been exposed adding fuel to the initial questioning of Drake’s lyrical validity. Seeing a credit is one thing, but actually hearing another person lay down seemingly original lyrics for Drake to copy has some fans question ing how much they can trust Drake’s pen at all. 

In response to all the recent leaks (there have been four this year thus far and two in the last week), we have decided to track the history of all of Drake’s alleged leaked reference tracks.

Released Song: “10 Bands” (2015)

research questions about music

View this video on YouTube

Leaked Reference Track: Performed by Quentin Miller (2015)

The reference track that started it all. Funk Flex dropped many bombs upon its premiere and it sent Drake fans and haters into a tizzy. Arguably the song’s best punchline “ My ex asked me where ya moving I said on to better things ,” is heard delivered clearly by Miller. 

“10 Bands” has a quintessential Atlanta glitz to its tone which plays sweetly off the cold Toronto texture of the instrumental. There was even a section of the reference track that was, at one point, cut up and presented as another alleged reference for Drake’s 2013 hit “Started From The Bottom.”

Released Song: “Know Yourself” (2015)

research questions about music

In a 2015 cover story for The Fader , Drake talked about being jealous of Wiz Khalifa for making “Black and Yellow,” which was an anthem for his hometown of Pittsburgh to sing along to. Drake then proclaimed: “I told myself, over the duration of my career, I would definitely have a song that strictly belonged to Toronto but that the world embraced. So, ‘Know Yourself’ was a big thing off my checklist.” Finding out Drake’s song for his city was partially created by someone not even from there is a wild revelation. Funkmaster Flex ended up leak ing this a week after “10 Bands.”

Released Song: “R.I.C.O.” by Meek Mill ft. Drake (2015)

research questions about music

While this leak didn’t lead in any way to a Meek Mill advantage in his battle with Drake, it did leave a lingering impression. It seems like Quentin Miller just handed Drake a full verse. Funkmaster Flex was responsible for this leak, as well, which caused many to wonder if Meek Mill was the one who gave him all of the reference tracks in the first place. Flex eventually claimed that Drake gave Meek Mill this specific reference track to prove he wasn’t sending shots his way on “R.I.C.O.”

Released Song: “Used To” ft. Lil Wayne (2015)

research questions about music

While it didn’t catch quite as much attention as “10 Bands,” “Know Yourself,” or “R.I.C.O.” Funkmaster Flex also premiered Drake’s Quentin Miller reference track for his collaboration with Lil Wayne from If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late . This one is a bit more interesting and funny to listen to because Miller is hilariously mumbling some of his flow ideas. One could deduce that this track was much more of a collaboration, but it still seems clear Miller had a lot to do with forming the track’s core elements.

Released Song: “Legend” (2015)

research questions about music

Leaked Reference Track: Performed by Partynextdoor (2016)

“Legend” arguably contains one of Drake’s stickiest melodies. The song, which is the first on If You're Reading This It's Too Late , really set the tone for the most Toronto-sounding album he’s ever released. There is some irony that a monumental song about Drake’s legacy features such a heavy hand from another artist. Partynextdoor solely produced “Legend,” and there is also a writing credit from Miller. 

Released Song: “Company” feat Travis Scott (2015)

research questions about music

Leaked Reference Track: Performed by Partynextdoor (2016) (Leaked version titled “647”)

One of the interesting things about “Company,” is that Partynextdoor has no song writing credit on the final version. (It’s only Drake and producers Travis Scott and Ebony Oshunrinde.) It’s wild to hear some of the core melodies Drake used being created by Party.

Released Song: “Greece” by DJ Khaled ft. Drake (2020)

research questions about music

Leaked Reference Track: Written and Performed by Oz (2019)

“Greece” is probably Drake’s least successful DJ Khaled collaboration. But it made a pretty good reference track. The song’s producer, Oz, actually posted a snippet of his reference track for the song on Instagram in 2019. When Drake’s version was released, people on the internet found that reference and exposed it to the world. Oz’s croons on the reference are at times indecipherable lyrically, but the main melodies are clearly all his. Should also be noted that Oz has an official writing credit on the song.

Released Song: “Jumbotron Shit Poppin” (2022)

research questions about music

Leaked Reference Track: Performed by Lil Yachty (2024)

It has been no secret that Lil Yachty helped Drake with much of his 2022 album with 21 Savage, Her Loss . You can clearly hear his background vocals on many other tracks besides this one. This is, however, the only reference track leaked from the project. When you hear the Yachty version you can hear why Drake’s version worked so well when it dropped, but also how much it isn’t really his song idea. Yachty is officially credited as a writer and co-producer on the track.

Released Song: “Calling For You” ft. 21 Savage (2023)

research questions about music

Leaked Reference Track: Allegedly Performed by Cash Cobain (2024)

This is the only reference track here that has flat-out been denied to be real. Bronx rapper/producer Cash Cobain has even claimed it was probably made by AI . Cobain's alleged reference track does sound incredibly believable though. Like many references before it, the song sounds more natural in his cadence than Drake’s. Cobain also produced the song so it would make complete sense—given Drake’s track record—that Cobain would send it to him with the melody and lyrics already intact. Cash Cobain is an officially credited lyricist on the song along with ten other writers.

Released Song: “Mob Ties” (2018)

research questions about music

Leaked Reference Track: Performed by Vory (2024)

Vory famously contributed to Bryson Tiller’s breakout 2015 hit “Don’t,” which was released three years before “Mob Ties.” Given Tiller’s early affiliation with Drake, who almost signed him, it would make sense that they would share writers. “Mob Ties” doesn’t really sound much like other Drake songs. It uses a southern trap flow that seems a bit outside of Drake’s natural range and its lyricism is not credible coming from Drake. 

Released Song: “Ratchet Happy Birthday” (2018)

research questions about music

Leaked Reference Track: Performed by Partynextdoor (2024)

This is the most recent leaked reference and potentially the least surprising. When you hear Party singing it you realize how much the melodies are in his natural pocket. 

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  • Media Lab Research Theme: Cultivating Creativity

The gondola, a timeless and iconic symbol of Venice and love, embarks on a new journey at the Venice Biennale Arte 2024 ( https://www.labiennale.org/it/arte/2024  ) in the Pavilion of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The Aerospace Gondola project is a collaborative video artwork by artist Marco Nereo Rotelli, MIT SEI’s Space Architect Valentina Sumini, Visual Designer Pietro Grandi, 3D designer Antonio Alfano, geophysicist Paolo Dell’Aversana, and poet Gemma Bracco.

Strategically placed at the water gate of the exhibition space at San Stae facing Canal Grande, this site-specific video piece symbolizes a vision and transition between land and water, encapsulating the core theme of the artwork. Rotelli transforms the water gate into a non-place, a threshold to the visible cosmic infinite, through a golden window. Through this window, viewers witness the poetic journey of a gondola flying from Venice to Bangladesh and passing by the Moon, serving as a metaphorical portal that bridges terrestrial and celestial realms.

The project stands on a foundation of art, science, and space architecture, using poetry to weave a communicative thread between diverse dimensions: earth and space, finite and infinite, interior and exterior, contemporary and historical, and future realms. Rotelli’s work often centers on the gondola as a powerful poetic metaphor, a theme he has explored in various prestigious exhibitions. From "Fluendo verso", exhibited at the Rome Quadriennale (1996), to "Clean Water, please", showcased at the Museum of the Military Navy of Venice, Milan Design Week, and the Biennale of Sustainability in Genoa (2022), Rotelli has consistently deepened his engagement with the gondola's symbolic and poetic potential. His collaboration with the Volunteer Diver Gondoliers of Venice further solidifies this union of intent.

The Aerospace Gondola, digitally designed with the expertise of Valentina Sumini, leverages artificial intelligence and computational design to reimagine the Venetian gondola as a fantastical space vehicle. This innovative project blends traditional symbolism with cutting-edge technology, reimagining space travel through a shield of golden stars and water. It aims to recreate the overview effect, reconnecting humanity to our planet Earth by exploring the lunar surface and applying this acquired knowledge upon returning to Bangladesh. This immersive experience merges all levels of our experiential and non-experiential world. Poetry becomes a universal medium that not only unites hearts and minds but also bridges diverse realms. Through this transformative journey, viewers are invited to reflect on the interconnectedness of our world and the limitless possibilities of human creativity and exploration.

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  26. The origins of music: Evidence, theory, and prospects

    Adler's (2009) discussion in Nature of a 40,000-year-old bird-bone flute has the provocative title, "The earliest musical tradition". But the search for the origins and expansion of music begins not at merely 40 Kya with the onset of European flutes (pipes) in the Upper Palaeolithic, discussed in the next section.

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