• Associate Professor of Music Theory


  • Bachelor of Arts, Humboldt State University, 1990
  • Master of Arts, University of Oregon, 1994
  • Doctor of Philosophy, 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, and 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).

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.


  • 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 http://www.iupress.indiana.edu.