Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance

By Chaffin, Roger; Demos, Alexander | Psychomusicology, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance


Chaffin, Roger, Demos, Alexander, Psychomusicology


Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance, by Siu-Lan Tan, Peter Pfordresher, and Rom Harré. Oxford: Psychology Press, 2010. 368 pp. ISBN 978-1841698687. $70.00

Music psychology is ready for a new generation of textbooks. It has been a quarter of a century since Deutsch (1982), Sloboda (1985), and Dowling and Harwood (1986) staked out the new field, showing how the methods of cognitive psychology could be used to study music. Now music psychology has its own specialist journals, professional meetings, and organizations. Its scope has expanded beyond translating methods developed for studying language comprehension for use in music perception. Music psychology now includes performance, development, neurophysiology, composition, and the diverse functions of music in everyday life. The publication of a new textbook designed for undergraduate courses in music psychology reflects the growing maturity of the field.

Undergraduate textbooks are a benchmark in the development of a new field, as textbooks presume the existence of courses to provide a market. At the same time, they promote the propagation of such courses by making them easier to prepare. Textbooks also play an important role in establishing the boundaries and organization of a field. If music psychology follows the path of other new fields within psychology, for example, cognitive, health, gender, we may expect that the next few years will see an emerging consensus on a canonical organization for textbooks and courses.

Music psychology now seems to be at the point in its development that cognitive psychology was around 1980 when the first undergraduate textbooks were appearing (e.g., Anderson, 1980), 25 years after the seminal publications of the 1950s, 13 years after Neisser's (1967) eponymous "cognitive psychology," and a decade after Lindsay and Norman's (1972) introductory "human information processing" textbook. In music psychology, recent years have seen a growing stream of books laying theoretical and methodological foundations for new subareas of inquiry, summarizing the state of knowledge in more established areas, and informing the educated reading public about the hot issues. A new textbook that builds on all of this recent activity is particularly welcome to these reviewers who will be teaching an undergraduate course in music psychology for the first time next semester. The publication of this timely and well-researched book makes our task much easier.

In their preface, the authors, Siu-Lan Tan, Peter Pfordresher, and Rom Harré, tell us that the inspiration for their book came from their experience of teaching the psychology of music. Their goal, they tell us, is to cover not only the cognitive psychology of music that has been the traditional focus of the field, but also more recent developments in "social, developmental and applied" aspects (p. ix), as well as to integrate the contributions of neuroscience throughout. In the interests of reaching a wide audience, the authors have "kept technical terminology for music and psychology to a minimum" (p. x). Only the chapter on musical structure assumes technical knowledge, both in music and psycholinguistics.

The book is organized in four parts. Part 1: Foundations introduces the reader to acoustics, the physiology of hearing, and the techniques of neuroscience in three chapters. Part 2: The Perception and Cognition of Music provides chapters on the perception of pitch and melody, rhythm and meter, and the analysis of musical structure. Part 3: Development, Learning, and Performance turns to areas that have developed more recently with chapters on the musical capacities of fetuses and infants, early musical development and education, practice, and performance. Finally, Part 4: The Meaning and Significance of Music examines the role of music in society with chapters on its social psychology, meaning, emotion, and culture.

The scope of the book is impressive, reflecting the diverse backgrounds of its authors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.