Music therapy with ethnic music for dementia patients

Yuki Tanaka, Hiroki Nogawa, Hiroshi Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dementia is already critical issues in the world when the society experiences super-aging. This situation requires establishment of rehabilitation methods for relieving symptoms of the patients. We have done research based on our assumption that most effective music therapy differs from culture, because music is dependent on cultural context. Here, we propose a hypothesis that the Japanese music gives better effects to Japanese patients than Classical music. Methods: In this study, we collected 87 volunteers including 79 dementia patients, 5 people <65 years old, 1 early-stage senior (65-74), and 2 late-stage senior (>75). We let the volunteers hear music prepared by us as follows: we selected 2 songs (Major/Minor with the same tonality) from famous nursery songs, 2 songs from famous play songs, and we composed 2 original songs (Major/Minor) with one tonality. We prepared 2 classical music as follows: one has scale of C Major and the other has scale of C Minor. We observed their response in 2 ways: one is physiological response measured by Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), which reveals changes of blood flow, and the other is subjective response measured by questionnaires. Results: Our result showed dementia patient has tendency for judging Major on the Japanese music, whereas normal people has tendency judging Minor on them. Conclusion: Our results revealed characteristic responses of dementia patients onto the Japanese music, and we expect our result provides an evidence for better music therapy for dementia patients with Japanese culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Gerontology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec


  • Japanese music
  • brain rehabilitation
  • dementia
  • music therapy
  • near-infrared spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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