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Music as therapy in early history.

Thaut MH. Prog Brain Res. 2015.

Abstract

The notion of music as therapy is based on ancient cross-cultural beliefs that music can have a "healing" effect on mind and body. Explanations for the therapeutic mechanisms in music have almost always included cultural and social science-based causalities about the uses and functions of music in society. However, it is also important to note that the view of music as "therapy" was also always strongly influenced by the view and understanding of the concepts and causes of disease. Magical/mystical concepts of illness and "rational" medicine probably lived side by side for thousands of years. Not until the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries were the scientific foundations of medicine established, which allowed the foundations of music in therapy to progress from no science to soft science and most recently to actual brain science. Evidence for "early music therapy" will be discussed in four broad historical-cultural divisions: preliterate cultures; early civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel; Greek Antiquity; Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque. In reviewing "early music therapy" practice, from mostly unknown periods of early history (using preliterate cultures as a window) to increasingly better documented times, including preserved notation samples of actual "healing" music, five theories and applications of early music therapy can be differentiated.

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID

25725914 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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