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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how the goals of cognitive and behavioral psychologists contributed to a new kind of listening at the beginning of the twentieth century. This chapter focuses on two interrelated efforts to cultivate a new type of listening. First, it examines the efforts by the Edison Company to transform the listener into a consumer. Second, it looks at studies carried out by psychologists to understand the functional effects of music and apply their understanding. The Edison-Carnegie Research Program and the subsequent Mood Music marketing campaign show how new sounds and new ideas about listening to them were both actively created. This historical episode provides new insight into the processes by which new listening cultures develop. The understanding of music as functional—it could cause certain mood and bodily effects—co-developed with an understanding that listening could and should be altered.

Keywords: Edison Company, history of science, ideal listener, listener types, listening and commercialization, listening and technology, psychology

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