Posted by USM on Monday, February 16, 2009 @ 18:52:33 CST
3 Music Psychology, or the psychology of music, may be regarded either as a branch of psychology or as a branch of musicology. It aims to explain and understand musical behavior and musical experience. Modern music psychology is mainly empirical: music-psychological knowledge tends to advance primarily on the basis of interpretations of data about musical behavior and experience, which are collected by systematic observation of and interaction with human participants.

The Scope of Music Psychology
Humans spend enormous amounts of time, effort, and money on musical activities. Why? The modern, international field of music psychology is gradually exploring a multitude of issues that surround this central question. Music psychology may be regarded as scientific research about human culture. The results of this research have, and will continue to have, direct implications for matters of general concern: human values, human identity, human nature, and quality of life.

Music Psychology Research Areas
Questions in music psychology are often difficult to answer. It is therefore necessary to subject the research literature to careful quality control procedures. These generally take the form of anonymous expert peer review, which is a standard feature of all leading music-psychological societies, conferences, and journals.

Music psychologists investigate all aspects of musical behavior by applying methods and knowledge from all aspects of psychology. Topics of study include for example:

everyday music listening (while driving, eating, shopping, reading...)
musical rituals and gatherings (religious, festive, sporting, political...)
the specific skills and processes involved in learning a musical instrument or singing in a choir
musical behaviors such as dancing and responding emotionally to music
development of musical behaviours and abilities throughout the lifespan
the role of music in forming personal and group identities
preferences: the reasons why we like some kinds of music and not others
the structures that we hear within music: melody, phrasing, harmony, tonality, rhythm, meter
the daily lives and challenges of professional musicians, regardless of whether they
perform from scores or improvise
perform alone or in groups
compose or arrange music on paper or with the aid of computers

Relation to music and musicology

Music psychology can shed light on non-psychological aspects of musicology and musical practice. For example, music psychology contributes to music theory by investigating the perception of musical structures such as [melody]], harmony, tonality, rhythm, meter, and form. Research in music history can benefit from psychologically inspired, systematic study of the history of musical syntax, or from psychological analyses of the personalities of composers in relation to the psychological effect of their music. Ethnomusicology can benefit from psychological approaches to the study of music cognition in different cultures. Research is only beginning in many of these promising areas of interaction.

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