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Music and the MindEssays in honour of John Sloboda$
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Irène Deliège and Jane Davidson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199581566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199581566.001.0001

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‘What are the important questions?’ a reflection

‘What are the important questions?’ a reflection

(p.17) Chapter 2 ‘What are the important questions?’ a reflection
Music and the Mind

Eric F. Clarke

Oxford University Press

The psychology of music occupies what has sometimes seemed an uncomfortable position between musicians’ practical concerns, and the more abstract academic concerns of psychological research. For most of the time, research in the psychology of music (as in many other subject domains) simply gets on with its immediate concerns, seldom looking up to consider the larger horizon within which it works. But on at least three occasions, John Sloboda has addressed—in different ways—what the ‘important questions’ are in music psychology, and whether and how research is making any headway towards those larger aims. This paper critically reflects on Sloboda’s own assessment of ‘the important questions’, and considers alternative perspectives on what those might be—from different standpoints, at different times in the developing history of research in the psychology of music, and as the relationship of the subject to its institutional contexts changes.

Keywords:   John Sloboda, music psychology, psychological research, musicians

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