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Professor Ian Cross

Parallels and differences between music and language in cognition; experimental study of music as communicative interaction; rhythm in music and language
Professor Ian  Cross

Professor of Music and Science

Director of the Centre for Music and Science

Parallels and differences between music and language in cognition

Experimental study of music as communicative interaction

Rhythm in music and language

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 335185

Departments and Institutes

Faculty of Music:

Research Interests

My research is interdisciplinary, guided by the aim of developing an integrated understanding of music as grounded in both biology and culture. I have published widely in the fields of music cognition, music theory, ethnomusicology, archaeological acoustics, psychoacoustics and, most recently, music and language evolution.


  • Acoustics
  • Music and language

Key Publications


Rebuschat, P., Rohrmeier, M., Hawkins, J. & Cross, I. (Eds.) (2011). Language and music as cognitive systems. Oxford, Oxford University Press

Cross, I. (2011). The meanings of musical meanings: Comment on Towards a neural basis of processing musical semantics, by Stefan Koelsch. Physics of Life Reviews, 8, 116-119.

Rohrmeier, M., Rebuschat, P. & Cross, I. (2011). Incidental learning of melodic structure. Consciousness & Cognition, 24 (2), 214-222.

Cross, I. (2009). Communicative development: neonate crying reflects patterns of native-language speech. Current Biology, 19(23), R1078-R1079.

Cross, I. (2009). The evolutionary nature of musical meaning. Musicae Scientiae Special Issue, 179-200.