Ieva Paniulaitytė1, Nerdinga Letulė2, Alvydas Navickas1,3

1Vilnius University Medical Faculty, Vilnius, Lithuania
2University of Jyväskylä, Music, Art and Culture Studies, Jyväskylä, Finland
3Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychaitric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania


Introduction: Depression is one of the most common psychiatric diseases in the world, affecting people from all countries and social levels. Music therapy is one of the effective tools, which increases the health of depression patients and is also used as a treatment. However, the full working mechanism of music is not yet understood, therefore, in order to increase the music-based psychotherapeutic intervention effectiveness, it is important to find out the working mechanism of a music therapy.

The aim of this research project is to reveal how depression affects musical expression. The hypotheses of this research state that clinical improvisations of the depression patients will be significantly different from the control group: improvisations of the depression patients will have less notes per minute; pitch of the notes in improvisations of depression patients will be lower; notes’ velocity in improvisations of depression patients will be higher; notes’ duration in improvisations of depression patients will be lower.

Methods: This study had 20 depression patients and control group of 20 healthy participants that were matched with depressed group in terms of age and sex. The participants have no professional training in music. Data was collected and analyzed using computer technologies. Participants were asked to perform two improvisations on a keyboard as well as have completed Beck’s depression inventory and Hospital anxiety and depression scale test to find the level of their depression. The study was completed in VšĮ. Vilnius city psychical health center. The research is completed in three stages: review of depression; the review of music therapy possibilities in depression treatment; empirical study to find out the differences among music features in clinical improvisations of the depressed patients and the control group. MIDI improvisations’ statistical analysis are used.

Results: Literature review shows that music therapy is an effective intervention however, there is a lack of deeper understanding how these interventions affect depression patients. Preliminary empirical study results show the differences between musical traits in patients’ and control group, furthermore, pitch of notes in improvisations by depression patients group are significantly lower than the control group. Further results and discussion will be presented.

Poster Session