Music-Thanatology

Music-thanatology is a professional field that utilizes harp and vocal music to serve dying patients and their loved ones. During a music vigil, the music-thanatologist responds moment by moment to the patient’s needs using music in a prescriptive way.

A music vigil can help to manage symptoms and relieve suffering. It is a quiet, meditative space for dying patients and their loved ones. For some, it may provide an opportunity for the work of meaning-making at the end of life.

Looking for a Music-Thanatologist? 

The Music-Thanatology Association International provides an online list of music-thanatologists. You may search by location.

Interested in joining the Music-Thanatology Association International and attending our annual conference?  

Please consider attending the annual Music-Thanatology Association International conference, in fall 2018. All are welcome to join at the Friend level and then register for the conference.

For Further Reading

Music at the End of Life: Easing the Pain and Preparing the Passage provides an overview of the field of music-thanatology.

The recently released book, From Behind the Harp: Music in End of Life Care, is available on Amazon.

Roberts Music offers recordings and the writing of Australian music-thanatologist Peter Roberts, including his book, The Harp and the Ferryman.

CDs, Videos and other Resources

Sacred Flight, a music-thanatology practice in Portland, OR, has an online shop with books and CDs by music-thanatologists. You can hear samples of the CD “Cleansing Sighs” here.

Music-thanatologist Gary Plouff has two CDs.

The website From Behind the Harp provides links to online videos about music-thanatology.

The Music-Thanatology Association International offers an online list of articles about music-thanatology.

Music-thanatologist Judith Shotwell wrote and performs Sailing by Night.