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J Music Ther. 1987 Summer;24(2):76-87.

Music therapy in the 19th century America.


The history of music therapy in the United States has not been thoroughly investigated and documented. The few sources containing information on the historical uses of music in medicine concentrate primarily on 20th century practices, while virtually omitting 19th century contributions to the field. The purpose of this study was to analyze elected music therapy literature that appeared in 19th century medical journals and dissertations. The articles found in these publications indicated interest during this time in advocating the use of music to provide the patient an alternate, more holistic approach to treatment. The dissemination of music therapy ideas occurred almost exclusively through these publications, which unfortunately resulted in very limited proliferation of the topic because of the nature of the audience (i.e.,primarily physicians). Nine articles were analyzed; the study was based on primary evidence located in medical journals and dissertations written between 1804 and 1899. The sources were located in a variety of bibliographies found in books, journals, dissertations, and theses.

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