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The body, to make and to be in music: A phenomenological study

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Aim of the study

The aim of the study is to elucidate the body as meaning-making phenomenon in relation to four different forms of musicking: a professional musician, a concertgoer, a DJ and a dancer.     

Theoretical background and methodology

The study involves four different musical contexts and life-worlds, expressed by a musician (a woman in her sixties), a concertgoer (a man in his forties), a DJ (a woman in her thirties) and a dancer (a man in his twenties) in order to provide a broad spectrum of musicking. Merleau-Ponty's body-phenomenological perspective (1945, 1964) along with Nielsen's understanding of music as a meaningful universe (1998) is the basis for the theoretical framework. 

Merleau-Ponty emphasizes the intentionality as bodily directed at the phenomena in the world and he proposes that the experience of the world must be based on bodily consciousness. Experience and perception of music has a bodily starting-point, where the body is understood as existence. A lived body, a body-subject (le corps propre) means that subject and object are interwoven and interconnected. 

The methodological approach is built on the combination of, and the interaction between, video observations, observations, stimulated recall interviews, interviews, and group interviews. Phenomenology is a critical reflection that doesn’t take anything for granted, instead it express a wonder of the world, constantly in motion. Heidegger put forth a distinction between three basic components of a phenomenological method: reduction, construction and destruction (Heidegger 1988, s 21).

PhD student

Johanna Österling Brunström, This is an email address