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Music therapy - In the Mansuri hospital Cairo and Edirne hospital



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A description of the experience

Amnon Shiloah – Jewish and Muslim Traditions of Music therapy [in Music as Medicine] quoting from Dols, Majnun

Musical performances were often given at the Mansuri Hospital in Cairo; one of the designated expenditures was for troupes of musicians to come each day and entertain the patients. During the Ottoman period, the older hospitals continued to employ music…

Evliya Chelebi visited Nur ad-Din Hospital in AD I648, and he reported that concerts were given three times a day ….... Similarly, the French traveller Jean Baptiste Tavemier visited the imperial capital in AD 1668 and later wrote an account of the Seraglio [A seraglio is the sequestered living quarters used by wives and concubines in an Ottoman household].  On the right-hand side of the first court of the palace was a large structure that housed the infirmary for the whole complex ... Tavernier avers that many came there, under various pretences, in order to enjoy the greater freedom.

'They continue there for the space of ten or twelve daies, and are diverted, according to their mode, with a wretched kind of vocal and instrumental Musick' .. .

In the Mansuri Hospital in Cairo, the patients suffering from insomnia were placed in a separate hall; they listened to harmonious music, and skilled story-tellers recited their tales to them.

When the patients began to recover their sanity, they were isoIated from the others, and dancing and various sorts of comedies were staged for their benefit ...

Evidence of these various aspects of the lslamic asylum is found in Evliya Chelebi's description of the mental hospital that was founded in Edirne (Adrianople) by Bayezid II (AD 1481-1512); Evliya visited it in AD l65l ... According to [him], there was a provision in the endowment of Bayezid's hospital in Edirne for three singers, and seven musicians (a flutist, a violinist, a flageolet-player, a cymbalist, a harpist, a harp-cymbal-player, and a lutenist) who were to visit the hospital three times a week. They played six different melodies, and many of the insane were reported to have been relieved by this 'nourishment of the soul'. . .

That asylum remained active until the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Healer other

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Activities and commonsteps


Music therapy