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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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How do strong experiences with music relate to experiences in everyday listening to music?

How do strong experiences with music relate to experiences in everyday listening to music?

(p.91) Chapter 6 How do strong experiences with music relate to experiences in everyday listening to music?
Music and the Mind

Alf Gabrielsson

Oxford University Press

People’s experience of and reactions to music have recently received increased interest in music psychology research. Several reports (books, articles) have dealt with ‘music in everyday life’, that is, how people perceive and use music in their daily life. In such circumstances music is often no more than a background to other activities and listening is somewhat absent-minded. However, there are also reports that demonstrate focused listening and indicate that music serves important personal functions, for example, to evoke pleasant memories, relieve distress, or enhance or change the present mood. Another line of research has dealt with particularly strong experiences related to music (SEM). In such cases music is in definite focus, nothing else matters. Analysis of strong experiences has resulted in a comprehensive descriptive system (Gabrielsson & Lindström Wik 2003; Gabrielsson 2008) that may serve as reference for comparison of different kinds of music experience. In the present chapter this descriptive system is used to reflect on similarities and differences in ‘music in daily life’—experiences and exceptionally strong experiences. Although there are of course obvious differences between the experiences, it turns out that the limits between them are fluid.

Keywords:   John Sloboda, music psychology, everyday listening to music, strong experiences with music

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