Richard Parncutt is a music psychologist and Professor of Systematic Musicology at the University of Graz, Austria. His research on the perception of harmony explains concepts such as the root of the chord (why the root of C minor is C and not some other tone), why certain chords are used more often than others in tonal music, and why most Western music is based on just two scales (major and minor). His research also addresses the perception of rhythm and melody, music performance (e.g. piano fingering), and the origins of music. He was instrumental in the creation of three international research infrastructures: The yearly Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology, the Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies, and the Conference on Applied Interculturality Research.


Parncutt, R. (Ed.) (2009). Part 7 Music performance. In S. Hallam, I. Cross, & M. Thaut (Eds.), Oxford handbook of music psychology (pp. 321–400). Oxford: OUP.

Parncutt, R. (2007). Can researchers help artists? Music performance research for music students. Music Performance Research, 1, 13-50.

Parncutt, R. (Ed.) (2006). Interdisciplinary musicology. Special issue of Musicae Scientiae.

Parncutt, R., & McPherson, G. E. (Eds., 2002). The science and psychology of music performance: Creative strategies for teaching and learning. New York: Oxford University Press.

Parncutt, R. (1989). Harmony: A psychoacoustical approach. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Articles and chapters:

Parncutt, R. (in press). Tonal implications of harmonic and melodic Tn-types. In T. Klouche (Ed.), Mathematics and computing in music. Berlin: Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung.

Parncutt, R. (in press). Prenatal and infant conditioning, the mother schema, and the origins of music and religion. Musicae Scientiae (Special issue on Music and Evolution, Ed. O. Vitouch)

Parncutt, R. (2009). Prenatal development and the phylogeny and ontogeny of musical behaviour. In S. Hallam, I. Cross, & M. Thaut (Eds.), Oxford handbook of music psychology (pp. 219–228). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Parncutt, R. (2007). Systematic musicology and the history and future of Western musical scholarship. Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies, 1, 1-32.

Parncutt, R., & Kessler, A. (2006). Musik als virtuelle Person. In R. Flotzinger (Ed.), Musik als... Ausgewählte Betrachtungsweisen (pp. 9–52). Wien: Österreichische Akademie der Wiss.

Parncutt, R. (2004). Enrichment of music theory pedagogy by computer-based repertoire analysis and perceptual-cognitive theory. In J. W. Davidson & H. Eiholzer (Eds.), The music practitioner: Research for music performer, teacher, listener (pp. 101–116). London: Ashgate.

Parncutt, R., & Troup, M. (2002). Piano. In R. Parncutt & G. E. McPherson (Eds.), Science and psychology of music performance: Creative strategies for teaching and learning (pp. 285–302). New York: Oxford University Press.

Parncutt, R., Sloboda, J. A., Clarke, E. F., Raekallio, M., & Desain, P. (1997). An ergonomic model of keyboard fingering for melodic fragments. Music Perception, 14, 341-382.

Parncutt, R., & Cohen, A. J. (1995). Identification of microtonal melodies: Effects of scale-step size, serial order, and training. Perception & Psychophysics, 57, 835-846.

Parncutt, R. (1994). A perceptual model of pulse salience and metrical accent in musical rhythms. Music Perception, 11, 409-464.

Parncutt, R., & Strasburger, H. (1994). Applying psychoacoustics in composition: "Harmonic" progressions of "non-harmonic" sonorities. Perspectives of New Music, 32 (2), 1-42.

Parncutt, R. (1993). Pitch properties of chords of octave-spaced tones. Contemporary Music Review, 9, 35-50.

Parncutt, R. (1988). Revision of Terhardt's psychoacoustical model of the root(s) of a musical chord. Music Perception, 6, 65-94.