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Synopsis

Nowadays we listen to music whenever and wherever we like. Never before has the scope of what is available been so great and varied. The mass media and Internet have given us unlimited paths into the world of music. Just like music is varied and endless, so are our reactions to music. The very same piece of music can generate completely different reactions in different people, and a person can react quite differently to the same piece of music on different occasions. Sometimes the reactions become more intense and profound than usual and leave powerful impressions in our memories. In this book several hundred people - women and men, young and old, musicians and non-musicians - talk about such strong experiences with music and what they have come to mean for them. The experiences extend across almost all of the twentieth century and have occurred in highly varying and often unexpected situations. The music absorbs the listeners and shuts out everything else. It evokes strong emotions and a lot of other reactions, from purely physical responses to experiences of existential and spiritual character. Every account is unique, moving, and bears witness to strong commitment. The experience may lead to the release of pent-up feelings, liberation and inner cleansing, and work as therapy. One can feel confirmed and understood, gain increased self-confidence, and acquire another view of oneself and of life in general. There is also the possibility of a new view of music and what it can mean for well-being, health, and quality of life. There are many similarities with strong experiences in other areas, such as nature, love, religion, literature, art, and dance. Strong Experiences with Music is a ground-breaking new book. It draws on over two decades of research and accounts from almost 1,000 participants. It addresses itself to all who have an interest in music and what music can mean. It should be possible to read without special previous knowledge, the technical language of music and psychology is kept at a minimum. Experts in the fields of music psychology music education, and musicology may find supplementary information in special analyses and notes to be consulted at will.

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