The power of music to influence mood and create scenes, routines and occasions is widely recognized and this is reflected in a strand of social theory from Plato to Adorno that portrays music as an influence on character, social structure and action. There have, however, been few attempts to specify this power empirically and to provide theoretically grounded accounts of music's structuring properties in everyday experience. Music in Everyday Life uses a series of ethnographic studies – an aerobics class, karaoke evenings, music therapy sessions and the use of background music in the retail sector – as well as in-depth interviews to show how music is a constitutive feature of human agency. Drawing together concepts from psychology, sociology and socio-linguistics, it develops a theory of music's active role in the construction of personal and social life and highlights the aesthetic dimension of social order and organization in late modern societies.
TIA DENORA is senior lecturer at the University of Exeter. She received the International Sociological Association's 'Young Sociologist' award in 1994 and is the author of Beethoven and the Construction of Genius (1995) as well as numerous journal articles.