1st Edition

Peak Music Experiences
A New Perspective on Popular music, Identity and Scenes

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 12, 2021
ISBN 9780367553845
November 12, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
216 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

‘Peak music experiences’ are a recurring feature of popular music journalism, biography and fan culture, where they are often credited as pivotal in people’s relationships with music and in their lives more generally. Ben Green investigates the phenomenon from a social and cultural perspective, including discussions of peak music experiences as sources of inspiration and influence; as a core motivation for ongoing musical and social activity; the significance of live music experiences; and the key role of peak music experiences in defining and perpetuating music scenes. The book draws from both global media analysis and situated ethnographic research in the dance, hip hop, indie and rock ‘n’ roll music scenes of Brisbane, Australia, including participant observation and in-depth interviews. These case studies demonstrate the methodological value of peak music experiences as a lens through which to understand individual and collective musical life. The theoretical analysis is interwoven with selected interview data, illuminating the profound and everyday ways that music informs people’s lives. The book will therefore be of interest to the interdisciplinary field of popular music studies as well as sociology and cultural studies beyond the study of music.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introducing peak music experiences

Chapter 2: Theorising peak music experiences

Chapter 3: Histories of listening: First encounters, gateways and conversion experiences

Chapter 4: Life-changing moments: Experiences of inspiration and influence

Chapter 5: Why music? Peak music experiences as motivation

Chapter 6: Listening together: Peak music experiences and interpersonal relationships

Chapter 7: Live music experiences: Presence and affective space

Chapter 8: Ideal experiences: Scenes, aesthetics and belonging

Chapter 9: Themes and conclusions

Appendix 1: Interview participants


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Dr Ben Green is a cultural sociologist with interests in popular music and youth studies. He is a member of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research and teaches at Griffith University and JMC Academy. Ben’s work exploring musical experience in memory, identity and belonging has been published in journals including Sociology, Popular Music and Journal of Sociology and in edited books including The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage.