From Social Contact to Social Cohesion—The 7 Cs

Stefan Koelsch


This article briefly reviews social functions of music. When playing music in a group, individuals have contact with other individuals, engage in social cognition, participate in co-pathy (the social function of empathy), communicate, coordinate their actions, and cooperate with each other, leading to increased social cohesion. Music making is special in that it can engage all of these social functions effortlessly and simultaneously. Engagement in these functions fulfills basic human needs and is of vital importance for the individual. The ability of music to increase social cohesion and strengthen interindividual attachments was probably an important function of music in human evolution.

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by The International Association for Music & Medicine