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Exploring the Musical MindCognition, emotion, ability, function$
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John Sloboda

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198530121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198530121.001.0001

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The ‘Sound of Music Versus the Essence of Music’: Dilemmas for Music-Emotion Researchers

The ‘Sound of Music Versus the Essence of Music’: Dilemmas for Music-Emotion Researchers

Commentary on Current Trends in the Study of Music and Emotion, a Special Issue of Musicae Scientiae (2001–2) Edited by Patrik N Juslin and Marcel R Zentner

(p.375) Chapter 22 The ‘Sound of Music Versus the Essence of Music’: Dilemmas for Music-Emotion Researchers
Exploring the Musical Mind

John Sloboda

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses that what goes on when a listener engages with music is above all a function of how that listener construes the musical event. In particular, it matters if and how the listener believes that there is an intentional agent behind the music. The science of music, with its particular origins, can be presumed to be under constant pressure to align with values of the dominant cultures which support and fund it. These cultures have predominantly economic imperatives which underpin the aims of science to classify and de-individuate in favour of isolating broad trends and key marker variables. There are certain characteristics of the ‘sound of music’, which are shared by several non-musical stimuli, particularly speech, and gesture, which allow simple emotional messages to be ‘read off’ the sound surface, and which allow certain basic effects of arousal modulation to occur.

Keywords:   music, agent, science of music, cultures, marker variables, sound of music, non-musical stimuli, speech, gesture

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