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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Palliative Care 1/2014

Perceived outcomes of music therapy with Body Tambura in end of life care – a qualitative pilot study

BMC Palliative Care > Ausgabe 1/2014
Michael Teut, Cordula Dietrich, Bernhard Deutz, Nadine Mittring, Claudia M Witt
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1472-684X-13-18) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

Bernhard Deutz is the developer and manufacturer of Body Tamburas, Cordula Dietrich runs courses on music therapy and teaches the therapeutic use of the Body Tambura in palliative care settings. All other authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

MT, CD, BD and CW designed the study. CD and BD treated the patients. MT collected the data. NM and MT and analyzed the data, MT, NM and CW prepared the manuscript. CW and MT had the overall responsibility. All authors were involved in interpreting the results of the analyses and critically reviewed the manuscript. The final version was approved by all authors.



In recent years, music therapy is increasingly used in palliative care. The aim of this pilot study was to record and describe the subjective experiences of patients and their relatives undergoing music therapy with a Body Tambura in a German hospice and to develop hypotheses for future studies.


In a qualitative interview pilot study, data collection and analyses were performed according to the methodological framework of grounded theory. We included German-speaking patients, or relatives of patients, receiving end of life care in an inpatient hospice setting.


11 persons consisting of 8 patients (age range 51–82 years, 4 male and 4 female) and 3 relatives were treated and interviewed. All patients suffered from cancer in an advanced stage. The most often described subjective experiences were a relaxing and calming effect, sensations that the body feels lighter, and the generation of relaxing images and visualizations. Family members enjoyed listening to the music and felt more connected with the sick family member.


Patient reported beneficial aspects. The small sample size could be seen as a limitation. Assessment instruments measuring relaxation, stress, quality of life and should be included in future quantitative studies.
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