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Kristen, Susanne; Shevy, Mark (November 2013): A comparison of German and American listeners' extra musical associations with popular music genres. In: Psychology of Music, Vol. 41, No. 6: pp. 764-778


This causal comparative study examined the consistency with which listeners from two cultures (Germany and the USA) associate extra musical concepts with four popular music genres (German folksy, country, punk, and hip-hop). The results showed that for internationally recognized genres (country, punk and hip-hop), the two countries made similar association patterns for all eight concepts measured (ethnicity, rural vs. urban culture, age, trustworthiness, expertise, attractiveness, friendliness, and political ideology). The study also revealed instances where the countries differed, such as hip-hop's association with ethnicity and most of the German folksy associations. The results are discussed in light of models of musical meaning. Furthermore, an integration of societal-level and individual-level theories predicts these similarities and differences. The theories include massification, glocalization, and cognitive schemas.