Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Professor Stacey Wood

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Isha K Singh


The present study examines whether modulating musical structural elements in therapeutic treatment reduces the severity of symptoms among individuals diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Music therapy has recently become a more utilized non-traditional treatment modality for anxiety. However, the specific elements of music that trigger relaxation responses alongside prevent rumination spirals has not received significant attention in literature thus far. This study aims to assess what type of music allows for the most effective treatment in reducing anxiety. Using a 2 (tempo: adagio, allegro) x 2 (timbre: string instrumental, vocal) x 2 (key: C major, D minor) between participants experimental design, participants diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder will be assigned to one of eight conditions manipulating structural elements of music. Over a 10 week study period, participants will attend a CBT talk therapy session and music therapy session once a week. At the end of the study, participants will reassess the severity of GAD symptoms. It is hypothesized that music therapy involving adagio tempo, string instrumental timbre, and the key of C major music will demonstrate larger symptom reduction levels than that of allegro tempo, vocal timbre, the key of D minor music. Additionally, a supersize effect would demonstrate larger significant reductions in symptoms using a combination of adagio, string instrumental and C major key music. This study may allow the increased use of music therapy alongside traditional treatment modalities to provide greater accessibility, immediate relief, and more efficacy within the modality by understanding what elements are most impactful to reduce symptoms.