The Functions of Music in Everyday Life: Redefining the Social in Music Psychology
What psychological functions does music serve in everyday life? In this paper we argue that the answer to this question is changing as a result of current social and technological changes in music itself, and that these changes force us to re-evaluate the role of the social context in music psychology. After describing the changes we go on to outline the psychological functions of music in everyday life in terms of the cognitive, emotional and social domains. We next attempt a detailed redefinition of the social psychology of music by reviewing the contents of our recent book of this title. The research findings lead us to conclude that the social functions of music are manifested in three principal ways for the individual, namely in the management of self-identity, interpersonal relationships and mood. This leads us to propose a new agenda for music psychology which places the social dimension at its core, and which considers the interdisciplinary context; the effects of the "democratisation" of music; the role of theory; the relationship between theory and practice; and the implications for research methodology.