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Picture Stephen McAdams

Professor Stephen McAdams

Schulich School of Music



Music, like theatre, dance, cinema and any number of performing arts, exists in time. The structure of multiple streams of events in interaction with sensory and perceptual processes and with fluctuating attention and the remembering of previous patterns and structures heard within a given piece or in other pieces heard at relatively recent or more distant past moments, sculpt a listener's sense of the unfolding of time. They also create a rich web of associations that allow this temporal experience to give rise to emotional and æsthetic trajectories that resonate long after the presentation of the art form itself has ceased. This project thus focuses on the temporalities of artistic experience, drawing inspiration not just from the arts and humanities, but also from the cognitive sciences. A more specific application of this approach is to develop a psychological foundation for a theory of orchestration, including its perceptual, cognitive and affective implications for musical experience. An important subsidiary aim of the project is to explore both what the sciences can offer the arts and humanities and what the arts and humanities can offer to the sciences, in terms of concepts, methods and their apparently divergent Weltanschauungen.

Professor McAdams' Faculty Page

stephen [dot] mcadams [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Contact Professor McAdams)