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A historical perspective

This article will look at the relationship between music and body movements from a historical perspective.
Concert hall with a musician playing piano.
© University of Oslo
There are numerous musical genres, and each of them has its own particular “style”: the sound, the looks of the performers, the behaviour of the audiences, and so on.

What led to the development of such strong cultural conventions? How do these conventions influence the way we experience music?

In this course we will study music as a phenomenon, rather than as a specific musical artefact. But that also requires an understanding of the different cultures we are situated in and coming from. The educators have been active musicians within various music genres, but they all have their academic training from institutions where the tradition of Western art music (“classical music”) has been dominant. This musical culture is often seen as the ideal in the musical “hierarchy”, and the most serious and prestigious way of experiencing music. The typical way of experiencing Western art music is to be:

  • seated
  • in silence
  • and not moving

This is probably the only possible way for many music lovers to have a rich and rewarding experience with music, but for others it may have limitations for how a bodily involvement may enhance the experience. Since this way of experiencing music often is used as a model for how music should be experienced also in other settings, this may be problematic. In Music Moves our aim is to explain why we believe it is due time that the body is taken seriously in music education and research. Furthermore, we even believe that if we truly want to understand the power of music, the body needs to be included in the discussion.

We will start by looking at how the focus on, and interest in, music and body movement have changed over the years.

© University of Oslo
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Music Moves: Why Does Music Make You Move?

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