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date: 24 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the extremely varied uses of music from a comparative perspective, and reviews literature on the subject of music’s functions, covering literature from ethnomusicology to anthropology, musicology, psychology, and sociology, and discussing a wide variety of musical contexts from around the world. These functions appear to range from the individual (music can affect the way we feel and the way we manage our lives) to the social (it can facilitate the coordination of large numbers of people and help to forge a sense of group identity). The chapter argues that musical behavior (within which category are included all kinds of listening as well as performance) also covers a vast middle ground in which relationships between self and other or between the individual and the collective are played out, and develops an argument emphasizing music’s role in the management of relationships between self and other.

Keywords: functions of music, comparative, social, personal, ethnomusicology

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