Harmonic Medicine: The Influence of Music Over Mind and Medical Practice

By Andrew Joshua Kobets - Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA -  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

512px-Cello study

The Yale Medical Orchestra displayed exceptional talent and inspiration as it performed a timeless composition to celebrate Yale School of Medicine’s bicentennial anniversary during a December 2010 concert. Under the leadership of musical directors Robert Smith and Adrian Slywotzky, the richly emotional meditations of Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Schubert, and Yale’s own Thomas C. Duffy filled the minds and hearts of an audience as diverse as the orchestra. I intend to retrace the steps of that melodic journey in this essay, fully aware of the limits imposed on me to recreate the aural art form through the medium of text. While these symbols can be pale representations of the beauty and complexity of the music, I hope they will be the building blocks for the emotional experience of the audience. I describe the works’ inception and their salient musical features and then review what we know about the effects of melody, meter, and timbre on our brains. My intentions are to provide evidence to encourage the further use of music as a tool in medical practice, provide interest in the works explored by the Yale orchestra, support the orchestra itself, and investigate a personal passion.

FULL TEXT ARTICLE (with audio resources)


Copyright ©2011, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine - This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License, which permits for noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any digital medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not altered in any way.

Image by Michael Maggs (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


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