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There is a paucity of music research based in palliative care settings, and a lack of research on the benefits of music in the clinical setting, with sound methodology to control for confounds. In particular, there is a need for clarity regarding the differential effects of live versus recorded music on outcomes such as pain and anxiety, and the confounding effects of song lyrics in the overall effects of music. Outcome measures used in most studies are observational or subjective self-reports, and researchers are often the practitioners, which may compromise rigour. This study proposes to address some of the above issues by comparing the effects of live instrumental music interventions with audiovisual (AV) and audio recordings of the same performances, and to compare them with similarly presented book readings. Outcomes of pain, anxiety and immune response will be objectively measured with salivary biomarkers, as well as with standardised self-report measures. A clearer model should emerge at the end of the study of the impact of music on pain and anxiety and the factors which may contribute to better analgesic and anxiolytic effects, as well as the processes involved in music achieving these and other health benefits.
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