Choosing to hear music

John Sloboda, Alexandra Lamont and Alinka Greasley

in Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199298457
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Choosing to hear music

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A substantial amount of music listening in contemporary Western society is deliberately chosen. This article reviews what is known about the psychology of self-chosen exposure to musical performances of others (recorded or live). The research reviewed is organized by the functional niche that the music is chosen to be part of. Six main niches appear in the literature. These are travel (e.g. driving a car, walking, using public transport); physical work (everyday routines such as washing, cleaning, cooking, and other forms of manual labour); brain work (e.g. private study, reading, writing, and other forms of thinking); body work (e.g. exercise, yoga, relaxation, pain management); emotional work (e.g. mood management, reminiscence, presentation of identity); and attendance at live-music-performance events as an audience member. Within these niches, four recurring functions of self-chosen music use are also identified: distraction, energizing, entrainment, and meaning enhancement.

Keywords: musical performance; music selection; music listening; music psychology

Article.  5994 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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