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, September 7-10, 2017 in Spokane, Washington. 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.