Peak experiences in music

John Whaley, John Sloboda and Alf Gabrielsson

in Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Peak experiences in music

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Musical-peak experiences are a significant component of the lives of many people. They are powerful, valued, have lasting effects, and – for some – are a reason for continued engagement with music. This article highlights research on the peak experience, emphasizing literature focusing on music-specific peaks. After outlining four studies fundamental to the study of peaks in music, a section discusses precursors to peaks and proposed differences between those who have achieved peaks and those who have not. A section on the cognitive, perceptual, emotional, and physical phenomena associated with peak experiences is thenfollowed by an investigation on the after-effects of peaks. Next, a section discussing methodologies for the investigation of musical-peak experiences highlights the possibilities and difficulties of this work. Finally, a brief section summarizes the contents of the article and looks towards the future of research in this field.

Keywords: musical-peak experience; music psychology; after effects

Article.  6080 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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