Zachary Wallmark is an academic expert in music perception and cognition, popular music, music and the brain, psychoacoustics, and timbre. At the University of Oregon, he is an associate professor of musicology. Working at the intersection of the cognitive sciences and musicology, Wallmark’s research seeks to account for the role of musical timbre (or “tone”) in emotional response, aesthetic judgment and music sociology, particularly in the context of post-1945 American popular music. His work has been published in both musicological and scientific journals. His award-winning co-edited volume (with Robert Fink and Melinda Latour), The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music, was published in 2018 (Oxford University Press). He is currently working on a monograph exploring the slippery psychoacoustic and social fault lines separating musical timbre from “noise,” with case studies drawn from free jazz, extreme heavy metal and traditional Japanese music. Wallmark has also published articles on the neuroscience of musical empathy, cognitive linguistics of timbre and improvisatory techniques of jazz pianist Andrew Hill.
The latest 'Understood' video delves into a musical mystery (Around the O, April 25, 2022)
A New Prescription: A Dose of Live Music for Hospital Patients (The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 14, 2020)
SMU Professor Explores Music and Empathy at DSO's SOLUNA Festival (NBC DFW, April 5, 2019)
The Way You Respond To Music May Be Linked To Success, A New Study Suggests (Forbes, July 29, 2018)
Empathy, Music Listening, and Mirror Neurons Are Intertwined (Psychology Today, June 27, 2018)
Empathetic People Experience Music Differently, SMU Study Finds (KERA News, June 20, 2018)
Why Do Humans Make Music? To Help Us Understand Each Other a Little Better: Study (Newsweek, June 13, 2018)