The Listening Spaces Project frames music as an essential human activity and seeks to understand the overwhelming impact technology has had on our collective and personal musical interactions. We are committed to understanding the porous boundary between music makers, listeners and users.  We support musicians, performers, research projects and organizations that seek to understand:

  • Who or what listens to music?
  • How do they listen?
  • What are our collective or individual rights and affordances as listeners to music, especially in the twenty-first century?
  • What is the role of music in culture?  


Richard Randall is the Cooper-Siegel 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. In addition to co-directing the Listening Spaces Project, he directs the Music Cognition Lab at CMU.  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.

Richard Purcell is an Associate Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies in the English Department at Carnegie Mellon University.  Purcell’s research explores the relationship between race and what Foucault called the processes of subjectification in the twentieth and twenty-first century. His previously published works can be found in ELH, boundary 2 as well as other scholarly journals.  Purcell also did a brief stint as a commentator for the now defunct NPR show News and Notes.  He is currently working on a book project that primarily uses cinema, television and other time-based media forms to explore representations of creative labor in hip-hop culture.



Partners and Collaborators


STUDIO for Creative Inquiry

Center for the Arts in Society