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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Ethnomusicology and music therapy are modern-day disciplines with roots that reach into the far past and share themes common to music and healing. This article seeks to link systematically ethnomusicology and music therapy by using ethnomusicological research methods to describe music therapy as practiced at a residential institution for persons with developmental disabilities located in the northeastern United States. It presents fourteen constructs derived from observations of moment-to-moment events that occurred during music therapy sessions. The fourteen constructs are based on Ki Mantle Hood's “Nine Levels of Group Improvisation,” principles that govern Javanese gamelan performance: tuning, mode, colotomy, balungan, fixed melody, instrumental/vocal idioms, local style, group empathy, and personal style. The use of these nine levels serves to describe the improvisational nature of music therapy at this institution, and identifies determinants of moment-to-moment events, whether musical or extramusical, including culturally derived musical expression.

Keywords: ethnomusicology, music therapy, Ki Mantle Hood, Javanese gamelan performance, balungan

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