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Healing Components of Music: Melody

June 15th, 2010 · No Comments · Music and the Golden Years, Music Healing, Music with Alzheimer's patients

Yesterday, we had an overview of the components of healing music.  It’s always important to remember that what is healing to one person might actually be distasteful or anxiety provoking to another.  Music is very personal so understanding the components and how they function within music can help you to choose the music you want to listen to more intentionally.

Today we talk about “melody.”  The simplest definition is probably “a tune, or series of notes, sung or played one at a time, that is memorable and pleasant.”  Simple melodies that everyone probably knows include:

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Mary had a little lamb

Happy Birthday to You

Amazing Grace

and so many more!

Some melodies are more memorable and appealing to people than others, but if a piece of music is to be “healing” then you’ve got to like, enjoy, and react positively to the melody.  But melodies can vary greatly!  We can have simple “nursery rhyme” melodies or we can have complex, classical music melodies like Mozart’s or Mendelssohn’s melodies.  These are often long and winding and are repeated with slight variations each time.

Then there are the popular music medodies that so many people love and associate with “falling in love” and good times.  Think of:

Unchained Melody

Wind Beneath My Wings

Chariots of Fire

Theme from “Rocky”

Stairway to Heaven

People who need people

Of course these tunes represent my generation…people who came of age in the 60’s.  Every generation has their favorites though and that’s been true for centuries.  Think of your grandparents music and their grandparent’s music.

I even made a CD called “Music for Memory Care” that features me playing on the piano the popular songs of the 1900-1940’s so that old people can sit and listen and reminisce about their youth and time of “falling in love.”  Melody is an important component of healing music so think about the melodies you love and how you can enjoy them more in times of stress and anxiety.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at harmony!


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