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, Second Edition, surveys the rapidly growing field of music cognition and explores its most interesting questions. 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

Now in its second edition, the text includes enhanced coverage of music therapy, the most recent theory and research, and improved pedagogy, including enhanced definitions of key terms and a reworked organization of topics. The accompanying open-access website ( features audio samples created specifically for this text.

Visit the free companion website for this text at

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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
  • Sales rank: 653,967
  • 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 has served as 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

* Every chapter begins with learning outcomes and ends with Additional Readings
1. Introduction
Overview of Book Contents
Abiding Controversies
Recent Areas of Research Growth
2. Origins of Music
Prehistoric Music
Adaptationist Accounts
Theories Based on Reproductive Benefits
Theories Based on Survival Benefits
Nonadaptationist Accounts
Precursors to Music
3. Musical Building Blocks
The Elements of Sound
Periodic Motion
The Discovery of Music Within Sound
Sensory Consonance and Dissonance
Tuning Systems
Sensitivity to Pitch
Models of Pitch Perception
Absolute Pitch
Reconstructing Music
4. Perceiving Music Structure
Arrangements of Sounds
Relative Pitch
Melodic Contour
Scale Structure
Large-Scale Structure
Melodic Expectancies
Implicit Memory for Music
Implied Harmony
Musical Key
Implied Key
5. Music Acquisition
Musical Infants
Music in the Womb
Investigating Music Perception Among Infants
Melodic Contour
Consonance and Dissonance
Pitch Relations
Scale Structure
Phrase Structure
Memory for Music
Learning and Enculturation
6. Music and the Brain
What's in a Brain?
The Search for Music Inside the Brain
Neurological Disorders
Techniques of Neuroimaging
Neuroimaging and Music
A Rapidly Evolving Field
7. Music and Emotion
Emotion Work
Emotion and Cognition
Theories of Music and Emotion
Empirical Studies
Do Listeners Agree on the Emotional Meaning of Music?
How Do Listeners Respond Emotionally to Music?
Compositional and Expressive Signals of Emotion
What Properties of Music Lead to an Emotional Response?
Is There a Universal Link Between Music and Emotion?
Sources of Emotion in Music
8. Music and Wellbeing
Music as Therapy
Infants and Children
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Music and Pain
Anxiety and Depression
Impairment Following Stroke
Melodic Intonation Therapy
Diseases of the Elderly
Parkinson's Disease
Negative Effects of Music on Wellbeing
9. Performing Music
Playing Music
Acquiring Performance Skill
Communicating Musical Structure
Communicating Emotional Meaning
Gestures and Facial Expressions
Evaluating Performance
The Craft of the Performer
Composing Music
The Radius of Creativity
Composers and Listeners
Cognitive Constraints on Composition
Composing with Multiple Voices
Where Do New Ideas Come From?
The Craft of Music Composition
11. Music and Other Abilities
Is Music Unique?
Short-Term Effects of Music
Long-Term Benefits of Music
Educational Implications
Author Index
Subject Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • 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

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