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Everyday Music Listening: Absorption, Dissociation and Trancing [Hardcover]

Ruth Herbert

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Book Description

28 Oct 2011
In what ways does listening to music shape everyday perception? Is music particularly effective in promoting shifts in consciousness? Is there any difference perceptually between contemplating one's surroundings and experiencing a work of art? "Everyday Music Listening" is the first book to focus in-depth on the detailed nature of music listening episodes as lived mental experiences. Ruth Herbert uses new empirical data to explore the psychological processes involved in everyday music listening scenarios, charting interactions between music, perceiver and environment in a diverse range of real-world contexts. Findings are integrated with insights from a broad range of literature, including consciousness studies and research into altered states of consciousness, as well as ideas from ethnology and evolutionary psychology suggesting that a psychobiological capacity for trancing is linked to the origins of making and receiving of art. The term 'trance' is not generally associated with music listening outside ethnomusicological studies of strong experiences; yet 'hypnotic-like' involvements in daily life have long been recognized by hypnotherapy researchers. The author argues that multiply distributed attention - prevalent in much contemporary listening-does not necessarily indicate superficial engagement. Music emerges as a particularly effective mediator of experience. Absorption and dissociation, as manifestations of trancing, are self-regulatory processes, often operating at the level of unconscious awareness, that support an individual perception of psychological health. This fascinating study brings together research and theory from a wide range of fields to provide a new framework for understanding the phenomenology of music listening in a way that will appeal to both specialist academic audiences and a broad general readership.

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More About the Author

Ruth Herbert's work focuses on the subjective experience (phenomenology) of music in daily life, and the transformations of consciousness that may occur in conjunction with listening to and making music. Her extensive research interests also embrace music and wellbeing, music education, evolutionary psychology, ethology and performance psychology. Publications include book chapters and articles in both peer reviewed journals and specialist magazines. She currently works for the Open University and was formerly Head of Performance at Dartington College of Performing Arts. She has performed widely as a classical pianist and as a member of a diverse range of ensembles, notably recording soundtracks for two classic silent films.

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Review

'This book deals with the evanescent and often-elusive topic of musical experience. It sets that topic in context of solid empirical research and reconsiders taken-for-granted distinctions between so-called 'normal' and 'pathological' forms of consciousness, showing us some of the ways that consciousness is musically framed. Everyday Music Listening proves that Music Studies can reach areas and problems inaccessible to other disciplinary modes of investigation. It will be required reading for music scholars. philosophers and clinical psychologists.' -----Tia DeNora, Exeter University, UK

'Everyday Music Listening is an important contribution to a growing body of work that aims to be descriptive - rather than prescriptive - in relation to listening in general, and everyday listening in particular. Anyone interested in this field, as well as phenomenological music psychology, should make it a priority to read this book.' -----Anahid Kassabian, University of Liverpool, UK

About the Author

Dr Ruth Herbert, Open University, UK.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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