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Faculty of Music


Daniel Müllensiefen

(Goldsmiths, University of London)

The Musicality of Non-Musicians; Measuring Musical Expertise in Britain

Lenny Bernstein had it, Nigel Kennedy has it as well as Evelyn Glennie and Annie Lennox, not to forget George Martin, John Peel, and John Rutter. They all have this thing with music: they are really good at it, but admittedly each one of them in its very own way. Almost everyone would agree that all of these music celebrities are highly musical. But, surprisingly or maybe not, agreeing on what it actually means to be musical is much more difficult. This talk introduces the novel concept of "musical sophistication" that covers the different aspect by which one can be musical, and a new battery of tests designed to measure musical sophistication in the general population. With the help of the BBC, the tests have been rolled out to a sample of 150,000 people and for the first time it is now possible to draw a comprehensive picture of Britain's musical skills and expertise. 

Daniel Müllensiefen studied Systematic Musicology, Historic Musicology and Journalism at the universities of Hamburg (Germany) and Salamanca (Spain). He completed his doctoral dissertation in Systematic Musicology on memory for melodies under the supervision of Albrecht Schneider at the University of Hamburg, and obtained his PhD in 2005. From April 2006 until June 2009 he worked as a Research Fellow in the Computing department at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Since July 2009, he has been a lecturer, and since 2012 senior lecturer, in the Psychology department at Goldsmiths; and co-director of the Master's course in Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths. Since September 2010 he has also been Scientist in Residence with the London-based advertising agency DDB UK.

In his non-academic work, Daniel has been a freelance expert witness in music law cases for numerous music publishers and producers, record labels, law firms, and in court since 1999.
Wednesday, 23 October, 2013 - 17:00 to 18:00
Event location: 
5.00pm, Recital Room, Faculty of Music