Psychology and music theory are two distinct fields of study that are often studied separately. However, there has been some debate among experts regarding the relationship between these two subjects.

Some argue that psychology is, in fact, a music theory while others claim that they are entirely different. In this article, we will explore this topic in-depth and try to understand whether psychology can be considered a music theory.

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. It involves examining how people think, feel, and behave in different situations. Psychologists use various research methods to study different aspects of human behavior such as perception, cognition, emotion, motivation, personality development, and social interaction.

What is Music Theory?

Music theory is the study of how music works. It involves understanding the various elements of music such as melody, harmony, rhythm, form, and texture. Music theorists analyze different compositions to understand how they were created and what makes them unique.

The Relationship between Psychology and Music Theory

Although psychology and music theory may seem unrelated at first glance, there are some similarities between the two fields. Both fields involve studying patterns of behavior or sound to gain insights into how they work.

Music theorists often use psychological research to understand how people perceive music. For example, they may use studies on auditory perception to determine how people hear different pitches or rhythms in a song. They may also use studies on memory to understand how people remember melodies or harmonies.

Similarly, psychologists have used music as a tool for studying human behavior and mental processes for decades. They have conducted studies on the effects of music on mood regulation, stress reduction, cognitive function, and social interaction.

The Differences between Psychology and Music Theory

Despite these similarities, there are also significant differences between psychology and music theory. Psychology is a much broader field that encompasses a wide range of topics, while music theory is more specialized. Psychologists may study anything from social behavior to neuroscience, while music theorists focus solely on the study of music.

Furthermore, music theory tends to be more focused on the analysis and interpretation of existing compositions rather than creating new ones. In contrast, psychology often involves conducting experiments and developing new theories to explain human behavior.


So, is psychology a music theory? The answer is no.

While there are some similarities between the two fields, they are fundamentally different in their scope and approach. Psychology focuses on understanding human behavior and mental processes in general, while music theory focuses solely on the study of music.

However, it’s important to note that the relationship between psychology and music goes beyond just academic study. Music has been used as a therapeutic tool for centuries, with psychologists using it to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. So while psychology may not be a music theory itself, it certainly has an important role to play in understanding how we interact with this powerful art form.