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University Press Scholarship Online

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Empirical Musicology : Aims, Methods, Prospects


Eric Clarke, Nicholas Cook (eds)
Published in print: 2004 Published Online: May Publisher: Oxford University Press 2008 DOI: 10.1093/ ISBN: 9780195167498 eISBN: 9780199867707 acprof:oso/9780195167498.001.0001 Item type: book

The study of music is always to some extent empirical, in that it involves testing ideas and interpretations against some kind of external reality. But in musicology, the kind of empirical approaches familiar in the social sciences have played a relatively marginal role, being generally restricted to interdisciplinary areas, such as the psychology and sociology of music. Rather than advocating a new kind of musicology, this book provides a guide to empirical approaches that are ready for incorporation into the contemporary musicologist's toolkit. Its nine chapters cover perspectives form music theory, computational musicology, ethnomusicology, and the psychology and sociology of music, as well as an introduction to musical data analysis and statistics. The book shows that such approaches could play an important role in the further development of the discipline as a whole, not only through the application of statistical and modelling methods to musical scores but also, and perhaps more importantly, in terms of understanding music as a complex social practice.

Music as Social behavior


Jane W. Davidson in Empirical Musicology: Aims, Methods, Prospects
Published in print: 2004 Published Online: May Publisher: Oxford University Press 2008 DOI: 10.1093/ ISBN: 9780195167498 eISBN: 9780199867707 acprof:oso/9780195167498.003.0004 Item type: chapter

This chapter considers a range of ways in which the social psychology of music may be tackled empirically. Since most music-making is a social activity, this is a particularly important area of study. Topics covered include the study of social factors in the acquisition of musical skills, using biographical surveys, questionnaires, and case studies;
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social factors in musical taste; the study of social dynamics in musical ensembles; and the social psychology of individual differences in music. This last section includes a discussion of the use of personality questionnaires, projective and objective testing methods, and the relationship between personality research and musical preferences. The chapter concludes by indicating the wide range of social psychological research questions in relation to music that still await proper research, and encourages researchers to use imaginative but systematic methods in tackling them.

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