Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

Richard Randall

Dr. Richard Randall

Associate Professor in Music Theory

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Richard Randall is Associate Professor of Music Theory at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Randall holds a faculty appointment at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and is a researcher at CMU's Scientific Imaging and Brain Research Center. He received his PhD in Music Theory in 2006 from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester.

Randall's research lies at the intersection of music theory, cognitive psychology, and media and cultural studies. His work employs a wide range of investigative methods in an attempt to better understand what music is and why it is important.  He directs the Music Cognition Lab and co-directs the Listening Spaces Project.

His lab investigates the neuroscientific basis of music perception and cognition.  Focusing on how musicality is perceptual property that auditory objects, his lab uses fMRI to identify neural correlates of how musicality is modulated by changes in low-level acoustic organizational features.

Listening Spaces frames music as an essential human activity and seeks to understand the overwhelming impact technology has had on our collective and personal musical interactions. Their 2016 book, 21st Century Perspectives on Music, Technology, and Culture, critiques current digital-music practices, how musical activities are commodified, and their social meaning. From 2014 to 2017, Listening Spaces partnered with local musicians, community organizers, activists, and Pittsburgh schools to create the Pittonkatonk May Day Brass BBQ and Workshops, which transcended traditional political economies of music by creating socially engaged and sustainable musical events supported by vested community collaborators.

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