Implicit Learning and Acquisition of Music


should be sent to Martin Rohrmeier, Centre for Music & Science, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, UK, and Cluster Languages of Emotion, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. E-mail:


Implicit learning is a core process for the acquisition of a complex, rule-based environment from mere interaction, such as motor action, skill acquisition, or language. A body of evidence suggests that implicit knowledge governs music acquisition and perception in nonmusicians and musicians, and that both expert and nonexpert participants acquire complex melodic, harmonic, and other features from mere exposure. While current findings and computational modeling largely support the learning of chunks, some results indicate learning of more complex structures. Despite the body of evidence, more research is required to support the cross-cultural validity of implicit learning and to show that core and more complex music theoretical features are acquired implicitly.