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Strong experiences with music: Music is much more than just music
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2011 (English)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Nowadays we listen to music whenever and wherever we like. Never before has the scope of what is available been so great and varied. The mass media and Internet have given us unlimited paths into the world of music.

Just like music is varied and endless, so are our reactions to music. The very same piece of music can generate completely different reactions in different people, and a person can react quite differently to the same piece of music on different occasions.

 Sometimes the reactions become more intense and profound than usual and leave powerful impressions in one’s memory. In this book several hundred people – women and men, young and old, musicians and non-musicians – tell about such strong experiences with music and what these have come to mean for them. The experiences extend across almost all of the 20th century and have occurred in highly varying and often unexpected situations. The music absorbs the listeners and shuts out everything else. It evokes strong emotions and a lot of other reactions, all the way from purely physical responses to experiences of existential and spiritual character. Every account is unique, bears witness to strong commitment and is often moving.

 The experience may lead to release of pent-up feelings, lead to liberation and inner cleansing and work as therapy. One can feel confirmed and understood, gain increased self-confidence and acquire another view of oneself and of life in general. Of course also quite a new view of music and what it can mean for well-being, health and quality of life. There are many similarities with strong experiences in other areas, such as nature, love, religion, literature, art, and dance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. , 492 p.
Keyword [en]
music psychology, music experience, strong experience
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-163085ISBN: 978-0-19-969522-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-163085DiVA: diva2:462683
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P1989-0163:10-Ö

Translated by Rod Bradbury

Available from: 2011-12-07 Created: 2011-12-07 Last updated: 2013-03-05Bibliographically approved

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