Psychological Structures in Music: Core Research 1980–1990
The fundamental characteristic that distinguishes the psychologist of music from the music theorist or analyst is the former's concern with empirical measurement of musical behaviour or response. A secondary concern is with ‘generalisability’. Psychologists are concerned to discover commonalities of response that hold across members of a population. Problems of operationalising musical responses are not trivial ones. These problems explain, to a significant degree, why psychologists have made so little progress in exploring the higher levels of musical response, including the emotional and aesthetic aspects of the response. The selection of research topics must be guided by further considerations, and these considerations are ones that psychologists and music theorists probably share. For this reason, the central topics in psychological research have been concerned with aspects of musical structure that are common to the widest body of music for which there exists a formal literature of theory and analysis: Western tonal music, whether art, folk, or popular.
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