Prof Bill Thompson - Music & Language


6:00 pm

Professor Bill Thompson

Head, Department of Psychology

Macquarie University

6pm, June 17th - Melbourne Recital Centre


The language of music, and the music of language

Scholars throughout history have contemplated the association between music and language, including Plato, Rousseau, and Darwin. Charles Darwin speculated that before our ancestors developed the capacity to communicate through language, they communicated using an earlier music-like "protolanguage" that was highly emotional in nature. In this talk, we will explore the emotional nature of music and its association with emotional speech, and I will show that emotion is a pivotal link between these two forms of human communication. I will also consider the complex emotional messages that are contained within popular music and the effects that such messages can have, the extent to which we can understand emotional messages in music and speech from others cultures, and the emotional body movements and facial expressions that people make when they are speaking or performing music. 

Although this event is free, bookings are essential. Tickets can be booked through the Melbourne Recital Centre websitePodcasts of the lecture will be available a few days after the event at