Progetto CO2

Le Chiavi Nascoste della Musica

La Musica come elemento trattamentale
nel contesto carcerario

12 Carceri


Music – as we perceive it in our daily experience – is essentially the reflection of a code. A vibrating, mysterious code that can be considered as a password to access the system which condensed and split the matter into categories through an evolutionary process lasting millions of years. Organized and processed physical sound is certainly one of the most precious elements among these categories. An element made of specific vibrations which undoubtedly go straight to the human emotional structure. Study and experience, testing some of the elements found in this code linking the organized sound to the individual emotional structure, favour a better understanding of the relationship between music forms and the listener’s perception. In other words it allows us to appreciate how much listening to music – although recorded – can tie itself to the values of emotional memory and bring conscious light into the inner ground of emotion. We are then in a position to prove that the musical sound, in its communicative essence from man to man, not only is amusing but has a crucial and sacred function which can be considered with greater respect. Guided and supervised use of music in structures like jail, where human emotions suffer drastic conditions, allows to assess its real educational potential, its power in relationship and comforting, its capability of cheering up and giving hope in the future to those who live in reclusion for years.


As a matter of fact, the jail project stems from my 30 year long studies, my experiences and observations. It works on emotion evocation and communication through musical sound organized by interval distances. Roughly fifteen tests were experienced either in jail or in rehabs. Interval distances, if listened to one by one or included in a composition, can produce mood changes. I described the results of the above experiences in my book La Musica Ignorata, Skira 2013 (Ignored Music) and at two exhibitions: LAltro Mondo (Museum of Contemporary Art of San Marino 2013) and Musica Respiro Celeste (Triennale di Milano 2015).

CO2 project starts the other way round. It is not music that triggers a mood change, but the inmates themselves will read their mood before listening to music. They can choose from a special collection of tracks each bearing the name of a different mood. They will then check if their choice matched their real feeling. The intersection between the objectivity of the emotional state expressed by a specific track and the listener’s subjective perception of the track, according to feelings as melancholy, anger, enthusiasm or phlegm and other factors such as their musical culture, produced precious information about the educational potential of music and the listener’s emotional self-consciousness. This three-year experience represents a new path to help people living drastic emotional conditions; it also demonstrates how through music the subject, comparing his own feelings with the others’, will be able to identify and accept his own inner nature. This quality of music belongs to any genre and style. In fact there is no difference but in the formal aspect of timbre between the melancholy inspired by an acoustic ballad of Rock Metal groups such as Led Zeppelin and the one offered by a Chopin’s Nocturne. The universal value of musical communication consists in its outstanding and mysterious vibrating code unaffected by formal differences.

My heartfelt thanks to you all: SIAE, Ministry of Justice, CPM Music Institute staff, scientific committee headed by Flavio Ceravolo and Francesca Viacava, the musicians who generously contributed with their classes, Penitentiary Police officers, tutors. Above all, my thanks to the inmates for accepting to be guided throughout the first step of this adventure ending on the convention in Pavia but actually just beginning.