Analyzing Recommended Songs for Older Adult Populations through Linguistic and Musical Inquiry

Olivia Swedberg Yinger, D. Gregory Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the musical and linguistic characteristics of songs previously reported by music therapists to be most commonly used with older adult clients. Piano/vocal arrangements were acquired for 72 songs (within five different genres: folk, hymns, musicals, patriotic, and popular), which music therapists reported using frequently with older adults in a study by VanWeelden and Cevasco (2007). Musical characteristics, including key signature, time signature, range, tempo marking, and form, were recorded for each of the songs. Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count 2007 (LIWC2007) software was used to identify the percentage of social-process words and positive/negative emotion words in each of the songs. Results indicated that social-process words were prevalent in the song lyrics and that positive emotion words outnumbered negative emotion words. Significant differences in word count were found among songs with different musical forms. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-125
Number of pages10
JournalMusic Therapy Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© the American Music Therapy Association 2015. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Music
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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