The illogical logic of music torture

M. J. Grant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article draws on research into the use of music in the context of torture--both as a technique of torture and as a means of rehabilitation--to ask what types of musical activities and practices may constitute ill-treatment, up to and including torture. As well as providing information on the ways music is used in the context of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (hereafter: CIDT), the article discusses responses to this issue in the scholarly, legal and therapeutic communities. Pointing to a widespread link between musical practices and humiliation of the prisoner and celebration of the power of those in charge over those held in detention, the author argues that coerced musical practices of any sort in detention are a cause for grave concern. She draws on research into post-traumatic stress disorder (hereafter: PTSD) and the torture-CIDT distinction to argue for an approach to the use of music in detention that places primacy on the dignity of the detained person.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-13
Number of pages10
JournalTorture : quarterly journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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