Palfy's book, "Musical Agency and the Social Listener," was released digitally on Wednesday, Aug. 25, with the printed version coming in October.
Assistant Professor Cora Palfy’s book, “Musical Agency and the Social Listener,” was released Aug. 25 by Routledge Publishing. The work, which has been released digitally, will also be printed in hard copy in October.
In this book, Palfy contends that music has the potential to engage us in social processes and that those processes can be experienced as social interaction with a musical agent or persona. She explores the overlap between those psychological processes that allow us understand and engage with people, and those that we engage in when we listen to music. Thinking of musical agency and narrative as a form of social process is quite different from existing theoretical frameworks of agency. It implies that we come to musical analysis by way of intuition—that our ideas are already partially formed based on our experience of the piece (and what it makes us feel or how it makes us sense it as a person) when we choose to analyze and interpret it. Palfy’s focus on social processes is an effective way to pinpoint when and why it is that our attention is captured and engaged by musical agents.