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The Social and Applied Psychology of Music Paperback – 10 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (10 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198567421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198567424
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 2.5 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 554,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review impressive assimilation of literature about a rapidly expanding area of research. (The British Journal of Music Education)

About the Author

Adrian North obtained his PhD on music psychology in 1996. He then took a lecturing position at the University of Leicester, before being appointed Professor of Psychology at Heriot Watt University in 2007. His research interests include musical preference, the effects of music on consumers, and the impact of pop music on adolescents. In his leisure time he enjoys watching football, playing guitar, and playing with his four cats.

David Hargreaves is Professor of Education, Froebel Research Fellow, and Director of the Centre for International Research on Creativity and Learning in Education in the School of Education, Roehampton University, and Visiting Professor of Research in Music Education at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, by which he was awarded an honorary DPhil in 2004. He has appeared on BBC TV and radio as a jazz pianist and composer, and is organist at his local village church.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It goes almost without saying that music exists in a social context: the many and varied ways in which people create, perform, perceive, and react to musical sounds are vitally dependent on the specific places, times and other people present in those situations, as well as the broader historical and cultural context of musical behaviour. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Marin on 27 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback
I have the honour of knowing Prof. D Hargreaves as he is my tutor of Music Psychology, this book is an essential part of the collection for anybody interested in the subject.

easily recommended to all!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Important Scholarly Work 17 Feb 2009
By D. Thomas - Published on
Format: Paperback
North and Hargreaves provide a masterful review of a vast body of research completed over the last 30 years in the field of Social Psychology and Music. As with the emerging field of music psychology in general, there is a need for books like this to begin to synthesize and make sense of the research that has been conducted, often by specialists in diverse fields who normally don't follow each others' work. The authors offer a compelling case for the unique contribution social psychology can make as a counter-balance to the laboratory research carried out in the cognitive and neuroscience fields. Here we have data from people interviewed in the context of their lived experience, examining how music functions within the lives of individuals and groups. I also appreciated their critique of the majority of psychological research to date, which has used classical music almost exclusively as if it were the ideal style of music to study. This bias is unwarranted, given the vast amount of music that is available and present in people's lives, and the diverse tastes that draw people to so many other styles besides the classical genre. Something else is clearly at work psychologically that leads people to so many other kinds of music besides classical. It's time for the research field to become curious about this fact. I found their protracted discussion of research on youth sub-culture and music to be a bit biased toward regarding rap and heavy metal as threats to social order and well-being. Their choice of term, to call these styles "problem music," is itself a problem, which minimizes the compelling forces that draw young people to this music and fairly disregards the benefits that fans find there. No doubt, research shows a clear correlation between this music and serious social problems such as violence, sexism, and self-harm, but their analysis is lacking in nuance to consider this music as a mirror of a troubled social milieu rather than its agent. Overall, there is no other book quite like this, which is so comprehensive and expertly written by two prominent figures in the field. It will be of interest to students and researchers in the fields of music, psychology, and the social sciences. As a book of general interest, readers may find it a bit dry and heavy as a survey of social science research.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A catalogue of reference to music and psychology 15 Dec 2009
By J. Michael Innes - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a useful work that both broadens the sphere of study of the relationship between the discipline of psychology and the study and performance of music and provides a ready reference to a large segment of that literature that future scholars will be able to access. The book examines the relationship between the production, creation and enjoyment of music and the social contexts in which that music is created and enjoyed. It brings together the literature of aspects of music production and enjoyment beyond the narrower precincts of the cognition and perception of music. The authors do a valuable service in reviewing much research and provide the start point for more work. They also expand the scope of study of the conditions under which music is experienced and appreciated, bringing the topic to the state of affairs in the 21st Century and the ubiquitous digitization of content. This is a valuable and quite salutary lesson.

The problem with such a reference work is that it has to treat almost everything with a light touch. Descriptions of research work can sometimes be quite superficial and limiting and criticisms appear rather weak. For example, there is a large section on creativity, a topic of clear relevance to the theme. A number of theories and methods are reviewed, but there is insufficient depth of analysis to enable a beginner really to understand the issues and problems. The interested reader can readily access the material, but the book is the starting point, not the guide that it could be.

Reviews of social psychological research that are relevant are also reviewed with insufficient depth. Studies on social conditions that can act to exacerbate or alleviate performance anxiety, for example, are not reviewed in most cases and those that are are secondary sources. the reference to relevant research in areas of cognition and ways that people respond to music exposure also shows a surprising lack of breadth and depth of analysis. To take this position, of course, can be seen to be unduly critical. To review all relevant material would be an impossible task and render any such monograph unreadable. At the same time, perhaps the authors could have been less adventurous and have limited the scope of their book and considered fewer issues in more detail.

There is, however, much to be gained from this book and much to be savored. The authors have done a great deal to educate the person interested in psychology and in music about how the fields intersect. The authors are clearly enthusiastic about the field, have produced much empirical research in the area and are excellent proselytizers. But the book does, in the end, act more as a catalogue to the riches of inquiry into music rather than introduce the reader to the joys of understanding.
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