Cristina Meini

Music, emotions and cognitive sciences. With some therapeutic ambitions

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Music; Emotions; Contour Theory; Arousal Theory; Music Therapy.

Traditionally, many philosophers of music have pointed out that the relationship between music and emotion arises many issues, starting from the problem of understanding how an unintentional object could be concerned with feelings, up to the nature of the purported emotional experience of the listener. In this paper I argue that the relation between music and emotions is much more intimate than philosophers are inclined to believe. I start pointing out that dealing only with «beautiful» music and classical masterpieces is methodologically wrong: if we want to understand how people are affected by music, we should rather take into consideration, on the one hand every kind of music, and, on the other hand, many different kinds of persons: children, people suffering from psychological diseases, etc. This less ideological look will evidence that music is a universally widespread phenomenon, naturally arousing emotions whose nature is strictly related to the typical precocious interpersonal relationships. Indeed, psychology and neurosciences have investigated (much more than philosophy) music from this point of view. Thus, it is not surprising if, some conceptual worries notwithstanding, many recent psychological and neuroscientific data decisively contribute to shed light on the relationship between music and emotions. All together, conceptual and empirical data today not only are able to offer a more complete understanding of the phenomenon, but also - I shall argue - to suggest well grounded epistemological foundations for a new music therapy, fully self-aware of its potentialities.

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