Music, Thought, and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music / Edition 1

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Examining the intersection of music, psychology, and neuroscience, Music, Thought, and Feeling surveys the rapidly growing field of music cognition and explores its most interesting questions. Written in clear, engaging language that balances scientific and artistic perspectives, this book provides an excellent introduction to—and critical analysis of—the major issues in music cognition, making it ideal for courses in psychology of music.

Assuming minimal background in music or psychology, the book begins with an overview of the major theories on how and when music became a widespread aspect of human behavior. It also covers:

• How humans perceive music

• Links between music and emotion

• Modern neuroimaging techniques and what they tell us about music's effect on the brain

• Psychological processes involved in imagining, composing, and performing music

• Potential cognitive benefits of musical engagement

Music, Thought, and Feeling references numerous "Sound Examples" and is supplemented by a companion website ( containing an extensive collection of music sample audio files, most created specifically for this book. In addition, the website provides a link to iTunes, where readers can access an iMix created to accompany the book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating, accessible, and comprehensive examination of the rapidly expanding field of music psychology by a leading researcher who has participated in its development for the past thirty years. From discussions that span the evolutionary basis of music, examinations of musical disorders, uses of music in therapy, and frank assessments of the potential benefits of music training for nonmusical skills such as reading and mathematics, Music, Thought, and Feeling is certain to inspire renewed passion about this exciting field."—Daniel Levitin, McGill University, author of This Is Your Brain on Music

"This exploration of music and emotion is the most extensive I have ever read"—Barbara J. Crowe, Arizona State University

"Music, Thought, and Feeling is easy to read. I like the "learning outcomes" at the beginning of each chapter."—Elizabeth W. Marvin, Eastman School of Music

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195377071
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/27/2008
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William Forde Thompson is Professor of Psychology at Macquarie University, where he conducts research on music, emotion, and performance. He is President of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2006-2008), Associate Editor at Music Perception, and Editor of Empirical Musicology Review.

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Table of Contents


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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Very engaging- eye opener to music!

    William Forde Thompson uses his knowledge on music, emotion, and performance to discuss the benefits, origins, and effects music has on people. The four main themes: •Chaos and Order: Music is a complicated make up of many things like notes, scales, pitch, harmony, and rhythm. We don't know where it came from, but it has affected most people's lives in some way. •Communication: "Music has a powerful ability to rally and generate group cohesion in large masses of people. " (Thomson 27) •Fulfillment: It brings satisfaction to not only people in their everyday lives, but also to animals such as birds when they use their mating songs. •Technology in Society: Music has been around for possibly 250,000 years, which means it is a big part in society. It is can change constantly and effect humans in different ways during different eras. Personally I enjoyed this book for many reasons, one being the set up. Along with the detailed chapters, there are side pictures and quotes that help further understanding of certain things mentioned within the reading. The chapters would start out with "learning outcomes" which makes the reading feel more beneficial when you could go back after completing the chapter and be able to answer the questions. There is a lot of engaging language that is a balance for the scientific and artistic mind. There were very few things I disliked. Certain statements here or there I might disagree with, but it was a new perspective and topic that was very captivating. Someone who should read this book is one who may be researching music, have an enjoyment of music and where it came from, or someone with psychology interests in music. People who may not enjoy this book as much are ones who dislike detailed non-fiction books or have no background in music (which only makes it harder to understand). To my knowledge and research, this is the only book written by William Forde Thomson, but it is filled with years of fascinating research that makes up a book almost anyone can enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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