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Palgrave Macmillan

Music, Nostalgia and Memory

Historical and Psychological Perspectives

  • Book
  • © 2019


  • Analysis rooted in large-scale quantitative research
  • Considers the complex ways in which personal and contextual variables interact to shape musical engagement
  • Analyses historical and modern day music used in key life events, from births to weddings and funerals

Part of the book series: Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies (PMMS)

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About this book

How are our personal soundtracks of life devised? What makes some pieces of music more meaningful to us than others? This book explores the role of memory, both personal and cultural, in imbuing music with the power to move us.  Focusing on the relationship between music and key life moments from birth to death, the text takes a cross-disciplinary approach, combining perspectives from a ‘history of emotions’ with modern day psychology, empirical surveys of modern-day listeners and analysis of musical works. The book traces the trajectory of emotional response to music over the past 500 years, illuminating the interaction between personal, historical and contextual variables that influence our hard-wired emotional responses to music, and the key role of memory and nostalgia in the mechanisms of emotional response.

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Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. Personal and Contextual Variables Influencing Music Listening Choices

  2. Historical and Psychological Variables Reflected in Music Choices for Key Life Events

Authors and Affiliations

  • MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development, Western Sydney University, Milperra, Australia

    Sandra Garrido

  • Associate Dean Research, Deputy Director ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Faculty of Fine Arts & Music The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

    Jane W. Davidson

About the authors

Sandra Garrido is a Research Fellow at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development at Western Sydney University, Australia. She has a background in both music and psychology and has authored over 70 academic publications including a book entitled Why Are We Attracted to Sad Music? (2017).

Jane Davidson is Professor of Creative and Performing Arts, Associate Dean Research, and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has published extensively and gained grants internationally in the fields of music and psychology.

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