Preface Music is everywhere. Every society worldwide engages in musical activities, and our engagement begins in infancy with lullabies and continues in various forms throughout our lives. Music is a constant—like the air we breathe or the blood that flows through our veins. For this reason, we often take music for granted and rarely stop to think about why it plays such a crucially important role in our lives. Why should a sequence of human-made sounds, produced in inventive ways and in a range of contexts, be a source of worldwide activity, fascination, and appreciation? In 2018, it was estimated that Beyoncé and Jay-Z, as a couple, were worth roughly $1.25 billion. From one standpoint, they accumulated this enormous wealth because they are talented at imagining and stringing together sounds in ways that people appreciate. Bono, with the band U2, has sung to huge stadiums of fans all around the world. At one concert in Pasadena, California, close to one hundred thousand people packed into the Rose Bowl to hear them play. An out- sider to their music might be forgiven for wondering what the fuss was all about. Bono can sing a memorable tune, but why the worldwide adulation? In the 1960s, protest songs by musicians such as Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, and Bob Dylan helped to build and then fuel a global peace movement in response to the Vietnam War, including the famous anti-war student movement that began at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2020, the global pandemic profoundly impacted the careers of musicians, with classical and popular music concerts cancelled across the globe, and venues that would normally support local musicians shut down. Musical communities were also disrupted as people went into isolation. Yet as people adjusted to the new reality, music began to re-emerge from the balconies in Italy, to online col- laborations and performances such as virtual choirs and orchestras. Music was a natural human response to the isolation and anxiety that people were experienc- ing, and it was a source of healing and hope. The profound power of music to affect people from all walks of life is one of the great mysteries of science. It is being vigorously investigated by musicologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, physicists, and a range of other scholars. The aim of this book is to provide an introduction to some of the main scientific investiga- tions, theories, and discoveries about music and how it affects our emotions, thoughts, identities, and social lives. All the chapters have been authored by
Previous Page Next Page