Music, context and culture: the contribution of the ethnomusicological research in the field of music therapic research


This article looks into the relationship between musictherapy and ethnomusicology because, if the use of music for therapeutic aims is an antique, varied and diversified practice, then the actual practice of musictherapy is also incredibly varied and even if it has been established a more science-based autonomous discipline in the last 50 years (thanks for the contribution of the neuroscience, medicine and psychology…) not for this has it remained immune from its ancestral heritage. In fact, the therapy of music is based on the ’humanity of music’, that is on all that is universally human in music concerning the body, the mind, the soul and the emotions in a global point of view.

After a short overview and comparison of the two disciplines, a window is opened to F. Giannattasio’s splendid ethnomusicological research, which is of grand influence and richness of particulars, followed by things to ponder in the field of musictherapy and in particular on the role and value of context as cultural container to identify and deal with the forms of discomfort, disorders. Music in fact acquires therapeutic value only if it is put in a frame of references, that is a context or setting.

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