© 2018

Sound and the Aesthetics of Play

A Musical Ontology of Constructed Emotions

  • Builds upon the existing scholarship in the aesthetics of play

  • Taps into the growing field of study around emotions

  • Crosses disciplinary boundaries between sociology, psychology and sound studies

Palgrave Macmillan

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Sound book series (PASTS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Justin Christensen
    Pages 1-38
  3. Justin Christensen
    Pages 39-65
  4. Justin Christensen
    Pages 67-87
  5. Justin Christensen
    Pages 89-117
  6. Justin Christensen
    Pages 119-124
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 125-128

About this book


This book is an interdisciplinary project that brings together ideas from aesthetics, philosophy, psychology, and music sociology as an expansion of German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer’s theory on the aesthetics of play. This way of thinking focuses on an ontology of the process of musicking rather than an ontology of discovering fixed and static musical objects. In line with this idea, the author discusses the importance of participation and involvement in this process of musicking, whether as a listener or as a performer. Christensen then goes on to critique and update Gadamer's theory by presenting incompatibilities between it and recent theories of aesthetic emotions and embodiment. He proposes that emotions are ‘constructed’ rather than ‘caused’, that the mind uses a system of ‘filters’ to respond to sonic stimuli and thus constructs (via play) aesthetic feelings and experiences. In turn, this approach provides music with a route into the development of social capital and inter-subjective communication. This work builds on the hermeneutical steps already taken by Gadamer and those before him, continuing his line of thought beyond his work. It will be of great interest to scholars in music aesthetics as well as a variety of other music related fields, including music psychology, philosophy and science and technology studies.


Constructed Emotions Sound Studies Music Ontology Musicology Aesthetics of Play Sociology Philosophy of Music Phenomenology Gadamer Hermeneutics Primacy of Play Aesthetic Experience Appraisal theories of emotion Constructive Theory of Emotions Enactivism Autopoiesis Peircean Semiotics Affect Theory

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Music & Sound Knowledge GroupAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

About the authors

Justin Christensen is a researcher at Aalborg University in Denmark, he previously earned a PhD in music composition in the UK, along with degrees in music from the Royal Conservatoire in The Netherlands and McGill University in Canada. His research focuses on the temporal, emotional and immersive listening experience.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Sound and the Aesthetics of Play
  • Book Subtitle A Musical Ontology of Constructed Emotions
  • Authors Justin Christensen
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Sound
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Sound
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-66898-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-88341-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-66899-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VII, 128
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Science and Technology Studies
    Cultural Studies
    Philosophy of Music