The Social and Personal Functions of Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Martin Clayton

in The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

Second edition

Published in print January 2016 | ISBN: 9780198722946
Published online March 2015 | | DOI:
The Social and Personal Functions of Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective

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This chapter addresses the extremely varied uses of music from a comparative perspective, and reviews literature on the subject of music’s functions, covering literature from ethnomusicology to anthropology, musicology, psychology, and sociology, and discussing a wide variety of musical contexts from around the world. These functions appear to range from the individual (music can affect the way we feel and the way we manage our lives) to the social (it can facilitate the coordination of large numbers of people and help to forge a sense of group identity). The chapter argues that musical behavior (within which category are included all kinds of listening as well as performance) also covers a vast middle ground in which relationships between self and other or between the individual and the collective are played out, and develops an argument emphasizing music’s role in the management of relationships between self and other.

Keywords: functions of music; comparative; social; personal; ethnomusicology

Article.  6343 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Social Psychology

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