Lawrence Zbikowski


Professor of Music and the Humanities in the College


Ph.D., Yale University, 1991


Office: Goodspeed 207
Phone: (773) 702-8788


Lawrence Zbikowski’s principal research interests involve applying recent work in cognitive science (especially that done by cognitive linguists and cognitive psychologists) to various problems confronted by music scholars, with a particular focus on music theory and analysis. His new book, Foundations of Musical Grammar (Oxford University Press, 2017), builds on research on fundamental aspects of human communication to explore the basis for the construction of meaningful musical utterances. Recent seminars have focused on meter and rhythm, theories of embodiment and their relationship to musical knowledge, and relationships between music and language. He also teaches analysis courses that deal with a range of music, which lately have focused on music of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • Music and Meaning (seminar) — Winter 2015
  • Rhythm and Meter (seminar) — Winter 2016
  • Music and Agency — Autumn 2017
  • Analysis of Song — Autumn 2017
  • Tonal Analysis I (graduate level) — Winter 2018

Selected Works

  • Review-article on Elizabeth Margulis, On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, in Music Theory Spectrum 39/1 (Spring 2017): 124-130.
  • “Musical Time, Embodied and Reflected,” in Music in Time: Phenomenology, Perception, Performance, edited by Alexander Rehding and Suzannah Clark (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016): 33–54.
  • “Words, Music, and Meaning,” in Sémiotic de la musique / Music and Meaning, edited by Per Aage Brandt and José Roberto do Carmo, Jr., Signata: Annales des sémiotiques = Annals of Semiotics 6 (Liège: Presses universitaires de Liège–Sciences humaines, 2015): 143–164.
  • “Dance Topics I: Music and Dance in the Ancien Régime,” in The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, edited by Danuta Mirka (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • “Listening to Music,” in Speaking of Music: Addressing the Sonorous, edited by Keith Chapin and Andrew H. Clarke (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013): 101–119.
  • “Remembering Music,” Dutch Journal of Music Theory 17: 3 (2012): 137–154.
  • “Music, Dance, and Meaning in the Early Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Musicological Research 31:2–3 (2012): 147–165.
  • “Music, Language, and What Falls in Between,” Ethnomusicology 56/1 (Winter 2012): 125–131.
  • “Music and Movement: A View from Cognitive Science,” in Bewegungen zwischen Hören und Sehen: Denkbewegungen über Bewegungskünste, edited by Stephanie Schroedter (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2012): 151–162.
  • "Music Theory, Music History, and Quicksand,” Music Theory Spectrum 33/2 (Fall 2011): 226-228.
  • “Music, Language, and Kinds of Consciousness.” In Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives, edited by Eric Clarke and David Clarke (Oxford University Press, 2011): 179–192.
  • “Musical Gesture and Musical Grammar: A Cognitive Approach,” in New Perspectives on Music and Gesture, edited by Anthony Gritten and Elaine King (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2011): 83-98.
  • “Metaphor and Music.” In The Cambridge Handbook on Metaphor, edited by Ray Gibbs, Jr. (Cambridge University Press, 2008): 502–524.
  • “Dance Topoi, Sonic Analogues, and Musical Grammar: Communicating with Music in the Eighteenth Century.” In Communication in Eighteenth Century Music, edited by V. Kofi Agawu and Danuta Mirka (Cambridge University Press, 2008): 283–309.