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Professor of Music Cognition in the Department of Music+44 (0) 191 33 43151
Associate Fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study


Tuomas Eerola is a Professor in Music Cognition at Durham University. He obtained his MA degree in musicology at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) in 1997. His predoctoral work involved periods of study at Leicester University (UK) and Cornell University (USA). In 2003, he finished his PhD at the University of Jyväskylä in musicology (music cognition). In 2003-2006, he worked as postdoctoral researcher at the same institution, followed by a postdoctoral position at an EU project (Tuning the Brain for Music). Between 2007 and 2013, he held a professorship at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), first associated with Music, Mind & Technology MA programme and later as a Chair of Musicology. Eerola was affiliated with the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research. At Music Department at Durham University, he has served as the Director of Research (2013-2015, 2021-) and the Head of Department (2018-2020). Eerola has been the President of Finnish Musicological Society and serves on several editorial boards including the journals Psychology of Music and Music Perception

Research themes

Eerola's research combines empirical music research, music psychology, and music and science. The topics of interest are music and emotions, and how we perceive music, especially the central elements such as melody, timbre, rhythm, metre, and dissonance. He approaches these topics with empirical experiments and often uses computational models to articulate the theories. He champions open science in his work. 

Professor Eerola has led several major research projects, Sweet Sorrow funded by the Academy of Finland (2013-2017). He has been the co-investigator in Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC, 2016-18), led by Martin Clayton and the other co-investigators being Antonio Camurri (Genoa) and Peter Keller (Sydney). He has also been involved in two funded research projects (EnTimeMent, funded by EU FET programme led by Antonio Camurri, and Social cohesion and resilience through intercultural music engagement, which is funded by Australian Research Council and led by Jane Davidson and Bill Thompson). 

To read more about music psychology at Durham, see Music & Science Lab and MA in Music Psychology at Durham. 

Research interests

  • Music and emotions
  • Music and movement
  • Music perception


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