It is a common experience that words are inadequate for music; there seems always to be a disparity between how music is experienced, and how it is described or rationalized. This book is a study of musical imagination. Musicians imagine music by means of functional models which determine certain aspects of the music while leaving others open. This means that there is inevitably a gap between the image and the experience that it models, and this gap can be a source of compositional creativity. Different musical cultures embody different ways of imagining sound as music, and thus every culture creates its own distinctive pattern of discrepancies between image and experience - discrepancies which are reflected in theoretical thinking about music. Drawing on psychological and philosophical materials as well as the analysis of specific musical examples, Nicholas Cook makes a clear distinction between the province of music theory and that of aesthetic criticism. In doing so he affirms the importance of the 'ordinary listener' in musical culture, and the validity of his or her experience of music.