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Properties of music used pre-match by rugby teams and players’ perceptions of its effects

Brooks, Jack (2015) Properties of music used pre-match by rugby teams and players’ perceptions of its effects. Masters thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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In recent years sports science has shown a considerable interest in how athletes can use music to produce a greater athletic performance. By comparison, musicology has sadly done little in this area of research. Sports science research has considerably furthered the understanding of how music can be used to alter athletes’ perceptions of, and improve athletic performance. The research has shown that this impact comes from the psychological and psychophysical influence that music is capable of. However, most studies have been based on singular athletes and in a testing or laboratory environment. Furthermore, research has overlooked competitive team settings and musicologically-focused analysis in studies, therefore limiting ecological validity and findings based on motivational musical qualities in sports. This study focused on addressing the aforementioned limitations. A competitive rugby team was interviewed based on their use of music during their pre-match routine, and completed the BMRI task based on two songs that they use. The songs were subject to a musicologically-focused analytical method to identify the particular musical qualities responsible for the motivational effects that the players reported. The study found that within the social context of a team setting, the shared listening experience amongst the players can considerably impact the teams’ arousal. It also found that intrinsic musical qualities can be influential on an athletes’ perception of arousal. However, it offers a considerable avenue for future research, as it suggests extrinsic qualities of music to have a greater impact within a team setting.

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