Nuri suffers from chronic depression following experiences of political violence. Playing music in music therapy is one of the few things that helps to counter his despair. David’s life experience has not been so extreme, but his ongoing relationship to music is also about sustaining everyday hope. I’ve noticed over the years as a music therapist that hope is perhaps the most common if mysterious
affordance of musicking – whether in everyday or more extreme situations. The philosopher Wittgenstein asked the provocative question, ‘Can only those who can talk hope?’ (1953, p. 174), and then answered this question through his own life, reporting to a friend that the slow movement of Brahms’ Third String Quartet had pulled him back from the brink of suicide. But how does such ‘musical hopefulness’ come about?