The Application of Hood's Nine Levels to the Practice of Music Therapy

Michael Rohrbacher

in The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756261
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
 The Application of Hood's Nine Levels to the Practice of Music Therapy

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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

Article.  19136 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Ethnomusicology

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