• Arndt Saalfeldt
4. term, Music Therapy, Master (Master Programme)
English Abstract
Aim: This qualitative study explores the qualities of voice (such as volume, tension, and resonance) in the context of singing as an indicator for the music therapist to be able to observe the state of identity in a client with dementia. More specifically, this study aims to explore how the musical parameters describing the qualities of voice are an indicator for a state of identity in the client as observed by the music therapist and how an understanding of such can be supplemented by Boone’s speech-language pathology theories about the functions of the voice.

Background: This master’s thesis is based on my third semester internship through Aalborg University’s music therapy master’s program at a nursing home in Denmark. There I was presented with an individual with Alzheimer’s syndrome whose sense of identity was not reflected into our shared reality and social interactions. The discrepancy of how I observed the client’s voice initially and how the client presented themselves through their voice in a shared reality was the basis of this study.

Method: In pursuit of answering the research questions, a qualitative idiographic deductive single case study based on a hermeneutic transcendental phenomenological analysis of an AB-design was conducted. The empirical data that consisted of the audio material, a voice analysis chart, and the researchers own understandings of the moments, is analyzed within a hermeneutic approach.

Results: Defining my own understanding of ‘identity’ and ‘state of identity’ was necessary to specify a clear conclusion to this study. A pattern emerged wherein the music would activate the autobiographical memory (reminiscence) that helped the client get into contact with his self-perceived state of identity, which led to a shift in bodily control (muscle memory) which directly impacted the qualities of the client’s voice. An observation of the qualities of voice could not indicate what sense of ‘core-identity’ the client had, but it was able to inform the music therapist about when the client was in contact with his sense of ‘core-identity’. The musical parameters, as included by this study, describing the qualities of voice aligned with the parameters describing the ‘natural voice’ as defined by Boone’s theories, and served to solidify the hypothesis that the qualities of voice can indicate when the client is in contact with his self-perceived sense of identity (‘core-identity’).

Keywords: Music Therapy, dementia, Alzheimer’s syndrome, identity, self, voice, song, assessment
Publication date29 Jul 2021
Number of pages64
ID: 431844548