Peak Music Experiences A New Perspective on Popular music, Identity and Scenes
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.
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: Peak music experiences and new perspectives
Appendix 1: Interview participants
Green's book makes a major contribution to the sociology of popular music. Through introducing the term 'peak music experience' Green brings compelling new insights regarding the everyday meaning of popular music and its resonance with memory and emotion. Of equal importance is Green's consideration of how technological developments since the early 2000s also critically inform the way that people (re)experience music in their daily lives. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in the city of Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, Australia, Green also brings fresh perspectives to our understanding of the connections between local, trans-local and global scenes. This book will be essential reading for popular music scholars interested in music's significance as an everyday resource.
Andy Bennett (Griffith University)