Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Michelle Napoli


The aim of this review is to examine studies which explored whether melody or rhythm played a more integral role in the facilitation of music-based speech and language rehabilitation for the population of individuals with nonfluent aphasia. This paper is intended to serve as a succinct synthesis of the myriad articles covering the efficacy of the treatment program called Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) and the impact of its primary musical mechanisms. Secondarily, it may assist in a deeper examination into speech and language-based music cognition and neurologic music therapy research. The speech and language disorder of aphasia; the relationships between music, speech and the brain; and the mechanisms of neuroplasticity and entrainment are explained. Additionally, the history, components, protocol, and efficacy of MIT are discussed. Furthermore, the musical qualities of melody and rhythm in regards to MIT and speech and language rehabilitation are analyzed. The findings suggest that it is the combination of melody and rhythm that best facilitates the recovery of speech in music-based aphasia treatment. Moreover, attempting to separate the qualities of melody and rhythm may be a reductionist viewpoint that fails to advance this particular realm of music cognition research. Finally, the individual merits of melody and rhythm within MIT may be impossible to distinguish. Suggestions for future research in this area are provided.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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