Music and Dementia: Two Case-Studies

  • Alexis Kirke
  • Belinda Dixon
  • Eduardo R. Miranda
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9617)


In this paper two current related projects on music and dementia are described. One is a form of design science research. It details the making of a 60 min BBC radio program which was produced in collaboration with people living with dementia and experts and carers. The program consisted of a mixture of tunes and documentary segments. These discussed various topic relating to dementia, radio and music (including an on the above memory jingles research). The structure of the program was designed in such a way as to make it more understandable to people living with dementias. The second project is a project which culminated in a performance made up of memory jingles, some of which were algorithmically generated and developed for an early-stage dementia patient. She provided a list of her ordered daily activities and a description of one of her medication dosages. The daily activity list was rhythmically adjusted, and a tune was written to it, by a composer. However it is not possible for all people with dementia to have a “composer-in-residence”. Hence computer music techniques were also investigated towards some form of automation of composition. This algorithm was used to compose a tune for the medication description from the volunteer. A few weeks later she exhibited the ability to recall both tunes and words in multiple informal environments (including high pressure situations).


Alzheimer’s Dementia Jingles Algorithmic composition Radio Broadcast Memory Reminiscence 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexis Kirke
    • 1
  • Belinda Dixon
    • 2
  • Eduardo R. Miranda
    • 1
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research, School of Humanities, Music and Performing Arts, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of Plymouth, Drake CircusPlymouthUK
  2. 2.BBC Radio DevonPlymouthUK

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