Studies of music education, therapy, and psychology have tended to comprise a second-level metanarrative: they are about what people think about music, rather than being directed at the human perception of the sounds themselves. While this may, to a certain extent, be appropriate—inevitable even—in research hybrids of the arts and social sciences, there is nonetheless an epistemological lacuna, which this book aims to fill. This chapter sets out the challenge of developing a shared musical understanding, of identifying just what it is we want to talk about when we seek to describe and analyze music, issues of ecological validity, and of using music analysis to address extra-musical concerns.
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