This modality is welcomed in a health care facility, long term care, hospice, nursing home or in the patient/clients own residence.  The medical staff or family can request a harp therapist to play for a patient or a loved one. The therapist will observe the patient, take cues from facial expressions or body movements, family, or any visual clues within the room. A practitioner will play for all ethnic and religious backgrounds and is able to individualise a culturally accepted experience by playing appropriate music.  


We all have our own resonant tone that we feel particularly good with, or resonate with. The patient’s resonant tone is selected while in conversation, or if non-communicative the therapist will watch for signs: movement of the lips, fluttering eyelids, or twitching of fingers. A melody is played around the tone, matching tempo, rhythm, and mode for mood, to create a totally personal experience. Ongoing research is exhibiting progress in documenting the effectiveness of certain frequencies of music on the various areas of the body. These include the colon,lungs,kidneys,and circulation. Music is played softly, and tempo can be altered as the therapist follows the patients breathing allowing for relaxation.  As the patient releases tension through entrainment, blood pressure lowers, oxygen levels are increased, pain may subside or be forgotten, and a state of relaxation, sleep, or even euphoria occurs. 

Annwvyn (Cover) - Martha Lawrance
00:00 / 00:00

composed by Christina Tourin,


The harp is naturally soothing for palliative care patients and hospice. Harp practitioners are sensitive to the nearing death awareness, which allows the patient’s final time to be pain-free, emotionally satisfying, and spiritually peaceful. Generally the music is improvised or unfamiliar. If familiar, it can be too painful and elicit unwanted memories. Hymns are played and usually well received by patients when requested.  The harp is very beautiful and seems to be the favoured instrument along with voice, for easing transition. The harpist has the knowledge to be able to observe all stages of the dying process with appropriate tempo and modes, while matching the breathing patterns of the patient.  


 Hospital Visits  - Hospital visits-may be requested by caregivers, and/or family members wishing to have bedside harp music, for their loved one.  The music is improvised or selected purely on an individualised basis to create a healing environment to ease pain, induce sleep, and to promote health and well-being.  Music, based on the patient's resonance tone, tempo, and mood  creates the perfect “cradle of sound” for mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.  This therapy works well with post and pre-op patients, complex care, rehabilitation and long term stays, cancer patients, coma, agitation, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, neonatal, stroke and psychological patients.


 Palliative Care  - As a complementary care modality, harp music can augment the spiritual healing process and comfort those with heightened stress due to fear, anxiety and pain. The harp music soothes and calms anxiety in family members as well.


 Hospice  - The needs of the dying are medical and physical in nature: requiring pain management; social and emotional which involves providing emotional support; and pastoral/spiritual which  encourages inner peace and tranquility. Modern medicine has eliminated much of the physical pain associated with the dying process, but a harp therapist has many tools to address the unique kinds of emotional and spiritual distress that shows up at the end of life.  Personalised and generally non-familiar music is offered.  Upon request favourite tunes or hymns can also be played.


Locrian Mode Improv. - Martha Lawrance
00:00 / 00:00

Transition - The therapist gives support through the stages, playing unfamiliar music, weaving in and out of major and minor keys, while in the patient’s resonant tone.  Connection with resonance, and breathing patterns is of priority. End-of-life is a very sacred and personal experience.


Respite care - Upon request, a personalised session is created with both familiar and non-familiar music.  Not only is the harp music soothing and relaxing but it can distract the patient/client from pain and discomfort.

Home visits - Hospitals are now discharging patients as soon as medically possible. The harp therapist will make house calls for recovering patients, palliative care support, the elderly wishing to remain in their home and people with various disabilities. The therapist will discuss music and issues prior to coming to the home to make the session as personalized as possible.


Nursing homes, long-term facilities and Retirement Homes - Bedside harp therapy is offered in these facilities, more for the residents that are not as mobile or are bedridden. Harp music is individualised to the resident’s needs and situations.