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Meaning, Power and Exoticism in Medicinal Music: A Case Study of MusiCure in Denmark

Meaning, Power and Exoticism in Medicinal Music: A Case Study of MusiCure in Denmark

The article offers a critical discussion of the use of MusiCure in the biomedical setting at the Copenhagen University Hospital and by private users. Based on ethnomusicological fieldwork, the article explores how MusiCure is applied, experienced and conceptualized in Denmark, and examines the views of the producers of the medicinal music program and positive experiences of private users.

In outlining aspects of the interfaces between healing and biomedical treatment and caretaking, the article discusses how medicinal music with its overt notions of the natural and universal aims at altering the healing space of hospital wards and private homes.

MusiCure is profiled by the authority of medicine and many of the sounds are used with a strong notion of exotic and distant places, also found in many New Age music products. The power to define healthy sounds and regulate bodily behaviour in relation to ideas of health is examined in the light of postcolonial critique of social and institutional hegemony.

Author: Tore Tvarnø Lind, Assistant Professor in ethnomusicology at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen. Published in Ethnomusicology Forum, Nov. 2007.

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