Muziekpsychologie: is a large book, about 340 pages, including a compact disc.
It involves contributions from 17 authors, mainly from Europe (8 from the Netherlands, 5 from United Kingdom, 1 from Poland, 1 from Italy, 1 from Germany) and one from outside Europe (from Argentina).
The book has been published in Dutch,because the primary goal of the book is to reach the lecturers and students at music schools in the Netherlands.
The book developed from an initiative in the 1980s by the Deputy Director of the Royal Music Conservatory in Den Hague who wished to make the research literature from various scientific disciplines available to this audience.
As stated by the editors (F. Evers, M. Jansma, P. Mak, and B. De Vries, all from the Netherlands) in the preface, the book aims to achieve four subgoals: (1) to acquaint the readers with the most recent developments in the field of music perception and cognition research; (2) to provide a literature database, allowing lecturers and students to have access to new developments; (3) to develop course materials which are then available for music education; and finally (4) to publish introductory surveys from various approaches and disciplines written by national and international experts.
The introductory pages by Konrad Boehmer give a valuable summary of the several contributions which I will also summarise here to give a flavour of the content of the book. The book is divided into four main sections: musical development, aptitude, and learning; creation of music; socio-cultural and emotional dimensions in the musical experience; and the perception of music.
… In Section 2, Mak and Jansma explore several ways to provide analytic means in unravelling the processes involved in composition and improvisation. One of these is to rely on verbal reports from composers.
Clarke successfully applies generative theories to explain expression in music performance. This chapter contains good descriptions of some empirical studies in support of generative theories.
The chapter by Widlund is almost a clinical one, providing useful suggestions concerning how to overcome performance anxiety, tension and stress. She also points to the positive effects of those negative emotional factors.
In the education of improvisation, Hemsy de Gainza strongly emphasises the developmental aspects, distinguishing three stages: the syncretic (i.e. the encoding of music sensation), analytic (the differentiation into music components), and finally synthetic stages. She encourages educators not to dissociate the learning of improvisation skills from general music training.