Arnie Cox

  • Professor of Music Theory

Areas of Study


  • BA, Humboldt State University, 1990
  • MA, University of Oregon, 1994
  • PhD, University of Oregon, 1999


Arnie Cox has taught at Oberlin since 1998. His primary research is on embodied cognition, with a focus on musical affect and metaphoric conceptualization. He has presented papers at numerous regional, national, and international conferences.

Cox earned a PhD from the University of Oregon, where he studied with linguistic philosopher Mark Johnson. At Oberlin, he teaches aural skills and music theory, including the course Music & Embodied Cognition. In May 2011, he led the inaugural preconference workshop at the annual Music Theory Midwest meeting in Nebraska, on the topic of Theorizing Musical Affect.

His published essays appear in Music Perception, Musicae Scientiae, Spectrum, and the volume Music and Gesture. He has also co-authored a paper with Rebecca Fülöp (Oberlin 2004) on the music of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which appears in the volume Music, Sound, and Silence in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Ashgate 2010).

Spring 2022

Aural Skills II — MUTH 102
Music Theory IV — MUTH 232


Arnie Cox Gives Keynote Address and Lectures

November 29, 2017

Associate Professor of Music Theory Arnie Cox gave a keynote address at the 12th International Conference on Music Theory and Analysis in Belgrade, Serbia, on October 15, 2017. While in Serbia, Cox also gave lectures at the Institute of Musicology (of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts) and to music students at the University of Arts in Belgrade.

Arnie Cox Publishes Book on Musical Meaning

November 3, 2016

Arnie Cox, associate professor of music theory and aural skills, has published a book titled Music and Embodied Cognition: Listening, Moving, Feeling, and Thinking (Indiana University Press, October 2016).

Taking a cognitive approach to musical meaning, Cox explores embodied experiences of hearing music as those that move us both consciously and unconsciously. In a pioneering study that draws on neuroscience and music theory, Cox advances his theory of the “mimetic hypothesis,” the notion that a large part of our experience and understanding of music involves an embodied imitation in the listener of bodily motions and exertions that are involved in producing music. The book is available at