Music, Mind, & Technology: Exploring the Embodied Musical Experience

Call for papers on the thematic issue on Music, Mind, & Technology: Exploring the Embodied Musical Experience

Technology enables music to be present in the modern world. As a consequence of streaming services and new portable technologies, people now consume more music with more freedom and at a much higher frequency than ever before. Additionally, creating music has become less dependent upon expertise or expensive equipment, thereby democratizing the field, while music’s potential as therapeutic and salutogenic tools has grown significantly due to technological developments. Yet, no matter how the relationship between music and technology evolves, clearly the experience of music continues to affect people's lives in strong and persistent ways

Throughout most of human history, music production and consumption required the presence of embodied actions. The musical experience meant being within earshot of its source of production and was a multimodal activity involving all the senses. The rise of recording technology in the 20th century enabled humans for the first time to experience music away from its original source and to be experienced as a purely auditory sensation or consumed in conjunction with other media, such as film. One may argue that music’s apparent emancipation from embodied actions influenced the empirical study of music, in which researchers, for many decades, viewed music exclusively as an auditory phenomenon. However, in the past quarter century, the concept of embodiment has returned to the forefront of music research, both as a concept to be explored philosophically and a phenomenon to be studied empirically. Alongside these epistemological developments, new technologies have deeply influenced research approaches, allowing new questions and methodologies to flourish.

Currently, a wealth of technology is available to study music as an embodied experience. For instance, motion capture of varying types has become a common method to measure and model music-related movements. In addition to computational video analysis, researchers employ sensing technology that ranges from small portable inertial measurement units (IMU) to expansive multicamera optical camera systems. These systems capture information with high temporal and spatial accuracy, allowing researchers to test hypotheses regarding how musicality is embedded within actions associated with music production and perception. Indeed, possible research topics span a wide spectrum, from gesture modeling to tracking the rehabilitation of motor impairments in music therapy. Additionally, technology opens the possibilities to investigate the lived experience of music in ecological ways. For instance, mobile apps can be used for experience sampling, which enables researchers to track personal listening habits. From this data, researchers can model how listening choices affect behavior and vice versa, which in turn sheds light on music’s role in mood regulation and well-being. Thus, technologies have come of age and will surely continue to affect the way music research is undertaken. For this reason, we feel it is appropriate to produce a thematic issue dedicated to technology’s impact on the way the broad research community studies the embodied musical experience.

We seek contributions that emphasize technology’s contribution to the study of music and embodiment. Studies that demonstrates how technology enables researchers to computationally model the structure of embodied musical expression and experience throughout various music-related activities would be particularly relevant. Varying orientations on the subject are welcome, as is research on music as a creative endeavor through performance and dance or as a tool toward healing, well-being, and growth in therapeutic and educational settings. Reports on empirical studies and theoretical papers are welcome. The themes include (but are not restricted to)


Embodied cognition and/or 4E cognition

  • Music and movement
  • Best practices for data collection within the field
  • Phenomenology of technology
  • Music and multimodality
  • Synchronization and entrainment
  • Embodiment in music performance and/or perception
  • Embodiment and dance
  • Novel analysis techniques


Sound and music computing

  • Embodied perspectives on new musical interfaces
  • Music and interaction design
  • Virtual musical instruments
  • Movement sonification environments
  • Music technology and entertainment
  • Music and sound analysis


Music technology in education and well-being

  • Everyday use of music
  • Music and affect regulation
  • Amateur music making
  • Music therapy interventions using embodiment frameworks
  • Music making by individuals with disabilities
  • New technology in music therapy


All submitted papers (a minimum of 7,000 words, 8,000-10,000 preferred, over 10,000 possible) will be evaluated by antiplagiarism software and then for suitability within the scope of the special issue and readiness for peer review. The emphasis of manuscripts published in Human Technology rests upon the human component in human–technology interaction; therefore, suitable papers will highlight the implication and/or benefits for humans and society.

Papers accepted for publication in Human Technology must follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Author guidelines are available at

The deadline for submissions to this thematic issue is January 15, 2020. Human Technology uses a journal management system. Authors wishing to submit papers for publication consideration are to upload the paper via the link and the corresponding author must complete the required information.


Guest Editors:

Marc R. Thompson

Senior Researcher in Musicology

Department of Music, Art & Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä


Jonna K. Vuoskoski

Associate Professor in Music Cognition

Department of Musicology & Department of Psychology, University of Oslo