About the Journal

Focus and Scope 

Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy (ISSN 1504-1611) invites dialogue and discussion about music, health, and social change. The journal values inclusiveness and socio-cultural awareness and has increasingly nurtured a critical edge that refines the focus on cultural issues and social justice. Since its inception in 2001, the editors have been committed to developing an egalitarian and interdisciplinary forum so that multiple voices can be heard. This publication will encourage participation from every continent and will nurture the development of discussion and debate. Because culture has an important role in music and music therapy, we will encourage contributions that find their source in the cultural influences of each continental region.

Voices is published by University of Bergen and NORCE Norwegian Research Centre through GAMUT - The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre. Thanks to support from NORCE and the University of Bergen, Voices is made available for you to read, free of any charges.

Vision Statement

Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy seeks to nurture the profile of music therapy as a global enterprise that is inclusive and has a broad range of influences in the International arena. The forum is particularly interested in encouraging the growth of music therapy in developing countries and intends to foster an exchange between Western and Eastern as well as Northern and Southern approaches to the art and science of music therapy.

Section Policies


The research section of Voices is dedicated to a broad and inclusive understanding of research as a practice in the service of knowledge development and social change. Research articles in Voices include empirically based research (quantitative and qualitative studies, including arts-based studies), literature-based research (historical research, review articles, theoretical and philosophical studies), and mixed methods research. Listed alphabetically, descriptions of types of research are:

Empirically Based Research

Empirical research articles of various forms may be submitted to Voices, but we urge authors to follow the IMRaD structure whenever possible and relevant:

Introduction: Develop the problem of investigation, review pertinent literature, and state the aim of the work.
Method: Describe details of the method used (subjects, materials, design, and method of analysis).
Results: Present representative empirical material.
Discussion: Discuss relationships and point out exceptions. Show agreement or disagreement with previous research. A conclusion and statements about the significance of the work may be presented at the end of the discussion or in a separate section.

Qualitative Studies: Qualitative research is a broad label covering a multitude of approaches informed by a large range of perspectives, such as grounded theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics and critical theory, as well as feminist, postmodern, and postcolonial perspectives. How the researchers position themselves in this landscape determines to some degree the criteria of evaluation. While in some cases systematic analysis of the empirical material is central, in other cases the interpretive and critical aspects will be more central. In either case, reflexivity is key to qualitative research. Authors and reviewers are referred to the EPICURE agenda which allows for dialogic evaluation of qualitative research. When relevant, authors are encouraged to employ arts-based and performative forms of research that pay justice to the multimodal nature of human communication and the aesthetic and performative dimensions of music therapy practice.

Quantitative Studies: Various types of quantitative research may be submitted. These include descriptive, correlational, as well as experimental studies. Typical criteria used in evaluating quantitative research include: Thoroughness of related literature, Clarity and relevance of purpose, Relevance and utility of research design in addressing research questions, Rigor of research design, Adequacy of the description of procedures used, Control of confounding variables, Risk of bias, Reliability and validity of measures and data collection, Appropriateness of data treatment and integrity of analysis, and Appropriateness of conclusions. Voices recommends using available guidelines for the reporting of quantitative research, such as the CONSORT statement for randomized controlled trials and the TREND statement for non-randomized evaluations. For the presentation of results, information about direction and magnitude of effects is often essential (for example effect size, p-values, confidence intervals). The appropriate use of figures is also often important and helpful in understanding the meaning of the results of quantitative research. Authors of quantitative studies must adhere to SI units.

Literature-based Research

This section includes historical research, review articles, and theoretical and philosophical studies, and may therefore include texts informed by a large range of epistemologies or meta-theoretical perspectives:

Historical Research: As the discipline and profession of music therapy grows older and becomes more culturally and geographically diverse, the importance of historical research is increasing. Historical research goes beyond the description of events and the gathering of facts to include critical examinations and interpretations of these events in order to understand the contexts, processes, agents, and ideas that helped to shape them.

Review Articles: Review articles are critical evaluations of material that has already been published. Review articles contribute to the development of music therapy by considering the evolution of existing research in elucidating an issue or problem. Authors should:

  • Define and clarify the issue or problem to be reviewed.
  • Summarize previous research in order to inform the readers about the state of knowledge pertaining to the issue or problem.
  • Identify gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions - as well as other aspects - in the literature reviewed.
  • Suggest further steps in the investigation of the problem or issue.

For systematic reviews of quantitative research, we recommend using available guidelines for the reporting, such as the PRISMA statement.

Theoretical and Philosophical Studies: Authors of literature-based theoretical articles draw on existing literature in order to promote or evaluate theories of music therapy or fields closely related to music therapy. As music therapy is multi-faceted, theoretical articles may build upon scientific research literature and/or theoretical contributions from the humanities. Voices finds it especially important to encourage theoretical developments that integrate relevance to practice, empirical grounding, critical awareness, and philosophical refinement. Literature-based philosophical studies examine the beliefs and assumptions of music therapy theories and practices, including practices of research. Philosophical inquiries in music therapy often concentrate on practice and everyday concerns. As such, philosophical studies can offer new tools for navigation and reflection in the daily life of both practitioners and scholars.

Mixed Methods Research

Mixed methods research usually involves the combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Studies within mixed methods research therefore de-emphasize differences and incompatibilities and emphasize how various methods can supplement and support each other. Researchers typically collect mixed data within a single study, concurrently or sequentially. Mixed methods research is especially relevant when data from different sources complement each other; when one method alone cannot answer the research questions; or when data from one method helps researchers understand data collected from another. In some ways, studies that combine empirically based research and literature-based research also can be considered mixed methods research. Selecting the best approach to the evaluation of mixed methods research can be a challenge. Voices recommends that authors and reviewers use the EPICURE agenda as a basis and then supplement this with various statements on e.g. quantitative research evaluation as relevant (see Quantitative Studies above).

Book Reviews and Book Essays

The section of Book Reviews and Book Essays can be helpful for readers searching for information about and appraisals of literature on music, health, and social change. Book reviews and book essays can therefore play a crucial role in the development of critical thinking and awareness in the field. When writing a book review you should develop and communicate your scholarly appraisal of a book, based on a summary of its content. It is important to clarify the genre of the book, the author’s aims, and the intended audience, and to clarify the reviewer’s position and perspective. Book essays elaborate on the relevance of and relationships between two or more books that supplement each other in some way.

Case Stories

The section of Case Stories provide the readers with narratives from music therapy and related practices. Case stories are given a narrative form that can frame a problem or create a metaphor that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Stories are often told to honor a hero or heroine, but can also celebrate or examine the life of a group or community. Stories are told to transmit knowledge about ways to exist in a society. They are also told as a meaningful expression of history, affiliation, and social norms. In Voices, stories take a written form, but can respond to readers as imagined listeners, therefore addressing, in part, the “immediacy” and some of the more traditional uses of the story format.

Columns and Essays

The section of Columns and Essays allows for reflections and contributions are difficult to forge into theoretical or philosophical research and other traditional styles of academic writing. Columns (short pieces) and essays (more elaborate pieces) can add significant aspects to our discursive practices in music therapy. They allow authors to make advanced reflections in a freer and more personal style. Texts in this section may elaborate upon an issue or problem, in an analytic and interpretative manner, including constructive speculations. Sometimes authors of columns or essays experiment with fluid mixing of styles.


The section of Interviews should be useful in helping us to maintain the humanistic aspects of our work on music, health, and social change. The relationship between the interviewer and interviewee can communicate the dynamics of an interpersonal dialogue, shared between two professionals or perhaps a professional and a lay person. Because so much of the written word is created by academics, the interview also provides a wonderful environment for reaching out to experts who might be willing to share traditional knowledge not readily available in texts. We want to create a level playing field in which established scholars who regularly publish scientific articles can come into dialogue with new scholars and new practitioners as well as established traditional practitioners.

Position Papers

The section of Position Papers opens up a space for critical thinking. Is music therapy heading in the right direction as a professional discipline? Are relationships with associated fields cultivated to the degree warranted? What is the value of music (when, where, and for whom)? What values should be guiding practice? These and numerous other questions deserve our attention and discussion. Positions papers examine a critical question through development of a particular argument. Often, opinions and emotions are closely linked. Strong engagement can increase the value of a contribution, but only if alternative perspectives are acknowledged. It can, for instance, be very helpful to explore the merits of the best counterarguments to our own arguments. 

Reflections on Practice

The section Reflections on Practice includes texts that invite reflection upon presented material from practice, whether these are linked to a clinical context or a community context. While authors are encouraged to relate their reflections to current research and theory, texts in Reflections on Practice are not themselves presented as research or theoretical contributions. This section is important in contributing to the integration of practice, research, theory. Contributions on innovative and new practices as well as on more conventional or traditional practices are welcomed.


The section of Reports includes descriptions of music therapy events or developments of various sorts, such as the event of an interesting conference or the development of a program or a project, or a specific way of working. Reports may illuminate local or regional traditions, and may also illuminate national or international developments.

Peer Review Process


All articles submitted to the Research section are peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers. The review process is double-blinded, both the reviewer and author identities are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa, throughout the review process.

When the reviewers have evaluated the manuscript, the article editor produces an evaluation statement with the reviewers' evaluations enclosed. Based upon the reviewers’ evaluations, the article editor decision will be “accept submission,” “revisions required,” “resubmit for review,” or “decline submission.” Submissions accepted will be forwarded for copy-editing and authors are invited to read the proofs before publication.

The review process usually takes 6-8 weeks. When authors are invited to revise or resubmit, there will be a given time frame. The procedures outlined above are established to ensure the quality of articles and to help and guide authors. We aim to make review processes constructive and professional, and a dialogical approach where appraisals and arguments may be discussed is encouraged. Authors' comments and feedback on the process will be appreciated.

Other Sections

Submissions to the other sections outlined above are also evaluated before publication, but according to more flexible standards and procedures. Usually one peer (double-blinded) will offer reflections on the material and the editor will then dialogue with the author to reach a good form for publication. When relevant, we also consider the aesthetic quality of a piece and its impact as a representation of lived experience.

The review process usually takes 6-8 weeks. When authors are invited to revise or resubmit, there will be a given time frame. The procedures outlined above are established to ensure the quality of articles and to help and guide authors. We aim to make review processes constructive and professional, and a dialogical approach where appraisals and arguments may be discussed is encouraged. Authors' comments and feedback on the process will be appreciated.

Transparent Publishing

Voices promotes dialogue and open access, and both of these positions align with values of transparency, collaboration, and interaction in reviewing. Once a manuscript is accepted and published, we name the reviewers and editors of the article, along with the author. If the manuscript is not published, the reviewers names are not revealed to the author.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.


This journal is indexed by Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and The Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers.


This journal is included in the Public Knowledge Project Private LOCKSS Network (PKP PLN).


Published by The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, NORCE Norwegian Research Centre and University of Bergen

Hosted by Bergen Open Access Publishing

Dialogic Reviews: Dimensions, Items, and Themes of EPICURE 

Voices encourages dialogic review processes, where both authors, reviewers, and editors are invited to practice reflexivity by positioning themselves in relation to perspectives and values that inform their appraisals. For some types of research (qualitative articles and mixed methods research) Voices employs the EPICURE agenda as a tool to enhance dialogue and reflexivity. If authors, reviewers, and editors find it relevant, the EPICURE agenda can also be used as a resource when dialoguing about other types of research or even submissions to other sections, provided it is used flexibly and with respect for the unique qualities of each submission.

EPICURE was developed by Stige, Malterud, and Midtgarden in 2009 (see link to article below) and the agenda consists of two dimensions: EPIC and CURE. The first dimension refers to the challenge of producing rich and substantive research accounts, the other to the challenge of dealing with preconditions and consequences of research. Each of the eight items of the composite EPICURE agenda indicates several possible themes of dialogue and discussion. These items and themes should not be used as fixed criteria or as a readymade checklist, but as starting points for reflection and dialogue. For example; qualitative research traditions vary considerably in relation to how and how much the item of Processing is stressed. Some traditions advocate rigorous and systematic procedures to the processing of material, while others allow for a high degree of flexibility in interpretation. The EPICURE approach to research evaluation does not provide conclusions about such differences, but it provides authors, reviewers, and editors with tools for negotiating about them.

EPIC (the challenge of producing rich and substantive accounts)

Agenda item Some possible themes of dialogue and discussion
E for Engagement
Engagement refers to the researcher's continuous interaction with and relationship to the phenomenon/situation and problem studied.
Evaluation of engagement could involve reflections on the researcher's access to the phenomenon or field studied; his or her motivation and pre-understanding; the capacity to participate, observe, record, and reflect; and the possibility of prolonged or repeated engagement. The theme of how research focus (problem) and perspective is developed with sensitivity to context and material is usually a theme to consider also (see next items).
P for Processing
Processing refers to the process of producing, ordering, analyzing, and preserving empirical material. Because research implies reporting, processing involves the process of writing as well.
Evaluation of processing could involve reflections on questions such as: How is the empirical material systematized, analyzed and presented? How are the researcher's position, perspective, and purpose clarified? How is the empirical material processed and presented textually? Is other expressive media used when relevant? Is the research focus (problem) clarified and refined in the process?
I for Interpretation
Interpretation involves the act of creating meaning by identifying patterns and developing contexts for the understanding of experiences and descriptions.
Evaluation of interpretation could involve renewed reflections on the (pre)understanding guiding choice of focus (problem). Other questions to consider could include: How are aspects of the processed empirical material seen in relation to each other? What is the rationale for choice of theoretical contexts for understanding of the empirical material? What is the relationship between the researcher's theoretically informed interpretations and the involved participants' own interpretations of their situation? Have other interpretations been considered and is the argument for the preferred interpretation made clear?
C for Critique
Critique refers to the (self-critical) appraisal of merits and limits of research processes and products.
Evaluation of self-critique could involve reflections on how the author(s) demonstrate reflexivity in relation to the other EPIC items such as Engagement, Processing, and Interpretation. It could include critical examinations of methods, material, and results, but also of motivations and inducements.


CURE (the challenge of dealing with preconditions and consequences of research)

Agenda item Some possible themes of dialogue and discussion
C for Critique
Critique refers to the appraisal of merits and limits of research processes and products in relation to society.
Evaluation of social critique could involve reflections on questions such as: Do the authors demonstrate awareness of mechanisms of repression and disempowerment? Does the study contribute with new understanding that could reveal such mechanisms? Does the study empower participants and contribute to social change? (Such questions are often difficult to discuss, as the implications and consequences of a study usually are not fully known at time of evaluation. Reflexivity in relation to these issues could be evaluated, however).
U for Usefulness
Usefulness refers to the study's value in relation to practical contexts.
Evaluation of usefulness could involve reflections on questions such as: What are the cultural and social conditions that made the study relevant in the first place? How are the research process and products useful for practice and understanding in relation to real world problems and situations? How is it useful for participants, professionals, agencies, and policy? (Note that usefulness is linked to interests, so that this item usually must be seen in relation to the previous one).
R for Relevance
Relevance refers to how the study contributes to development of the involved discipline(s) or interdisciplinary field.
Evaluation of relevance could involve reflections on questions such as: How does the study use relevant literature and how does it fit within the existing body of knowledge in music therapy and related disciplines? Is the study original and pertinent for the development of new understanding?
E for Ethics
Ethics refers to how values and moral principles are integrated in the actions and reflections of research.
Evaluation of ethics could involve reflections on questions such as: Is the research process respectful to all participants? Does the researcher demonstrate awareness of consequences of the research? How are issues such as confidentiality and informed consent handled? To what degree does the study reflect the diversity of interests and perspectives in the group of participants? What are the relationships between those who tell (participants) and those who write (researchers)? (As implied by the last questions; this item of the agenda could - together with the item Critique - have an integrative function in that the relationships between the various items are considered).


Stige B, Malterud K, Midtgarden T. Toward an agenda for evaluation of qualitative research. Qualitative Health Research 2009, 19(10), 1504-1516.