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Erkki Huovinen is a music researcher working in fields such as the psychology of music, the philosophy of music, music education, musicology, and music theory. Since 2016, Huovinen is Professor of Music Education at Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. Previously, he has worked as Professor of Musicology at three Finnish universities, and as a Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Music in 2009–2013.


Originally studying musicology, philosophy, and classical languages, Huovinen received his PhD in musicology in 2002 at the University of Turku, Finland, with a dissertation concerning the perception of tonality in melodies. In his post-doctoral work, he concentrated both on philosophical aesthetics (e.g., philosophy of creativity, musical understanding, methodology in aesthetics) and various empirical research projects (e.g., music listening, improvisation pedagogy, music reading, quantitative music analysis), also publishing research on methodological and historical issues in music theory and music research in general. On and off, he also worked as a musician in free-improvisation contexts.


Many of Huovinen’s present research efforts concentrate on the psychology of music. In particular, he has an interest in the relationships between music and imagination, including topics such as everyday musical imagery, imagined agency in heard music, children’s associative imagery in music, and ideational creativity in music. Huovinen’s work in this area applies various forms of mixed methods research. For instance, he has worked to integrate qualitative and quantitative methods in studying music listeners’ extramusical associations (Music Perception33[2]), and studied everyday “pleasant musical imagery” by integrating microphenomenological elicitation interviews in a quantitative research framework (Music Perception36[3]). 


Another prominent aspect in Huovinen’s research is his interest in theories and theoretical understanding. While his earlier efforts in this area had to do with listeners’ musical understanding (e.g., The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism71[3]), he has lately focused on musically active people’s reception of theories of creativity (Frontiers in Psychology12[612739]).


Much of Huovinen’s research has to do with creativity and/or expertise in music and with different aspects of musicianship such as improvisation.

In 2014–2018, Huovinen also led the Academy of Finland research consortium Reading Music: Eye-Movements and the Development of Expertise, which brought together views from educational science, psychology of music, and statistics in an interdisciplinary effort to understand the visual processes in music reading. One of his own main contributions in this area concerned measuring the “early attraction” of the music reader’s eyes on salient items of the score (see Journal of Eye-Movement Research11[2]).