In a series of experiments on New World and Old World monkeys, architectonic features of auditory cortex were related to tone frequency maps and patterns of connections to generate and evaluate theories of cortical organization. The results suggest that cortical processing of auditory information involves a number of functionally distinct fields that can be broadly grouped into four or more levels of processing. At the first level, there are three primary-like areas, each with a discrete pattern of tonotopic organization, koniocortical histological features, and direct inputs from the ventral division of the medial geniculate complex. These three core areas are interconnected and project to a narrow surrounding belt of perhaps seven areas which receive thalamic input from the major divisions of the medial geniculate complex, the suprageniculate/limitans complex, and the medial pulvinar. The belt areas connect with a lateral parabelt region of two or more fields that are almost devoid of direct connections with the core and the ventral division of the medial geniculate complex. The parabelt fields connect with more distant cortex in the superior temporal gyrus, superior temporal sulcus, and prefrontal cortex. The results indicate that auditory processing involves 15 or more cortical areas, each of which is interconnected with a number of other fields, especially adjoining fields of the same level.