According to Richard Parncutt, Professor of Systematic Musicology at the University of Graz, music psychology investigates why humans spend so much time, effort and money on musical activities; and it does this by combining the academic study of music (musicology) with the academic study of human individuals (psychology). Areas of psychology frequently drawn upon within the psychology of music include, biopsychology, perception, cognition, creativity, motivation and emotion.
The modern, international field of music psychology is gradually exploring a multitude of issues that surround the question of why humans spend enormous amounts of time, effort, and money on musical activities. Music psychology may be regarded as scientific research about human culture. The results of this research have, and will continue to have, direct implications for matters of general concern: human values, human identity, human nature, and quality of life.
Psychology of Music publishes peer reviewed papers directed at increasing the scientific understanding of any psychological aspect of music. These include studies on listening, performing, creating, memorising, analysing, describing, learning, and teaching, as well as applied social, developmental, attitudinal and therapeutic studies
Music psychology, or the psychology of music, may be regarded as a branch of psychology, a branch of musicology or as a field integrating with clinical music therapy. It aims to explain and understand musical behavior and musical experience. Modern music psychology is mainly empirical: music-psychological knowledge tends to advance primarily on the basis of interpretations of data about musical behavior and experience, which are collected by systematic observation of and interaction with human participants.
Music psychology can shed light on non-psychological aspects of musicology and musical practice. For example, music psychology contributes to music theory by investigating the perception of musical structures such as melody, harmony, tonality, rhythm, meter, and form. Research in music history can benefit from psychologically inspired, systematic study of the history of musical syntax, or from psychological analyses of the personalities of composers in relation to the psychological effect of their music.
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