Towards a holistic model of functions of music listening across cultures: A culturally decentred qualitative approach
Contact: Ronald Fischer
This study explores the functions of music listening from a cross-cultural perspective, investigating the personal, social and cultural musical experiences of participants from different cultural backgrounds.
Seven main functions of music listening were identified:
- Music in the background;
- Memories through music
- Music as diversion
- Emotions and self-regulation through music
- Music as reflection of self, and
- Social bonding through music
Asian and Latin-American sub-samples were considered to be more collectivistic, while non-English speaking Western and English speaking Western sub-samples were more individualistic.
Across all sub-samples the self-regulation function was the most important personal use of music, bonding was the most important social use of music and the expression of cultural identity was the most salient cultural function of music.
The cultural differences:
- The non-English speaking Western sample mentioned a greater number of memory and emotion functions for the individual use of music,
- Diversion was mentioned more frequently by English speaking Western and South American samples as a social function,
- Emotions were identified more frequently by South Americans as a cultural function.
- Only one finding may point to an individualism–collectivism effect: the diversion function was mentioned more often by both collectivistic samples as a social function. Collectivistic participants from Asia and South-America mentioned the use of music (at the social level) as a collective means to feel good, for entertainment and dancing more often than the individualistic participants.
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