Introduction: historical and contemporary perspectives on music, mind and well-being

Gouk, P. and Kennaway, J. and Prins, J. and Thormählen, W. (2018) Introduction: historical and contemporary perspectives on music, mind and well-being. In: The Routledge Companion to music, mind, and well-being. Routledge Music Companions . Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9781138057760 (hardback) 9781315164717 (e-book)

Abstract

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers the basis of thinking on the topic, while also investigating the different models of the interaction of body, mind and emotions, revealing ideologies that have a significant impact on the questions that scientific and psychological research asks. It also considers what happened to the Greek ideas as they were developed in parallel discourses in the Latin West, the Arabic and the Persian-speaking worlds during the Middle Ages. The book also considers the debate on music’s effects in the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century, with particular reference to the composer and lutenist John Dowland. It demonstrates that the evidence that music can distract the listener and performer possibly through inducing a state of “flow” – and in doing so can provide health benefits – is partly historical in character.

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