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Music: seeing and feeling with the ears

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date2017
Host publicationSensory Arts and Design
EditorsIan Heywood
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (electronic)9781474280211, 9781474280201
ISBN (print)978147428019
<mark>Original language</mark>English


There is more to the experience of music than sound. Listeners commonly report that music takes them to ‘another place’. Music is frequently described to ‘move’ and the elements of a piece of music take on the status of a kind of mobile object. Sensations of light, space, size and weight are described by listeners. Three different sources of first-hand accounts of music-listening experiences are used in this chapter: the on-line Listening Experience Database extracted from various published sources (often diaries); Strong Experiences of Music, an interview-based study by Alf Gabrielsson; and interviews conducted for the second author's PhD thesis Magpies and Mirrors. We propose explanations for these non-sonic experiences on the basis of memory, metaphor, motion cognition, and sounding objects and environments (real and imagined). We conclude that, through these mechanisms, music recruits other sensory modalities in building a compelling affective environment.