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January 2022

The Effects of Music on Imagery Sequence in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music

Journal/Book: Faculty of Music. 2000; Melbourne, Australia. The University of Melbourne. 171.

Abstract: The Bonny Method of GIM is a form of therapy based on the principles of Music psychotherapy. The two main components of a GIM session are specifically programmed classical music, and client's imagery sequences. In this study, qualitative research methods were used to determine if the music usd in GIM sessions influenced imagery processes and modalities, and to identify any significant music elements. Three research participants two men and one woman, each received six sessions of GIM. One female participant withdrew after two sessions and a third female participant received one session to provide gender balance to the data. The music and imagery segment of each session was audiotaped and transcribed onto the printed score. One music program, "Grieving", was selected for analysis using the principles of phenomenology, and the four participants' imagery sequences were tabled alongside this analysis in exact correlation with each other and the music. A Structural Model of Music Analysis was conducted to study the separate musical elements within the selections of the "Grieving" program. The music description and the four imagery sequences were examined and compared using Event Structure Analysis to discover how the temporal music sequence, and specific musical elements, influenced imagery processes and development. It was found that the program entitled "Grieving" elicited sequences of images, allowing the participants time and space to explore around and within the imagesw, and for associated emotional or feeling affect to surface and be expressed. Imagery was evident when the music showed predictable rhythms, harmonic structure, and long and symmetrical melodic phrasing. In passages with rapid changes in tonality, dynamic range, rhytmic oulse and melodic fragmentation, imagery tended to be sparse with long, silent pauses in imagery reporting. Tension and resolution that occurred in the music was matched in the imagery sequences. Images expanded with high pitches and light timbres and texture, while it became embodied with low pitches and descending melodic lines. The use of solo instruments often matched somatic and kinaesthetic imagery in specific parts of the body and, when used in dialogue, allowed several aspects of an image to be examined. These findings reflect the importance of music's influence on spontaneous imagery, and suggest that other GIM music programs should be examined with similar rigour. The author proposes that the methods of analysis in this study could be apllied to music used in other music therapy methods.


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