Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Matthew Hilt


This study argues for the reintroduction of the ancient Greek and Roman rhetorical focus on developing musical rhythm skills in the education of the public speaker and orator. It examines the potential for application of the Dalcroze Eurhythmics pedagogical method in speech communications. It reviews the literature on philosophy, neurology, communications, rhythm, expressive movement, and education. This includes a literature review of relevant concepts such as rhythm, delivery, charisma, gesture, affect, education, hypnosis, propaganda, and paranoia. It explores neurological findings on music, movement, the brain, and the efficacy of bi-hemispherical, affective, movement-based, phenomenological, and somatic educational approaches. The study next establishes the relevance of rhythm in current public speaking textbooks. It does this via a cursory content analysis of rhythmic constructs in 25 recent college public speaking textbooks. It then establishes the historical importance of rhythm in the training of orators. It first looks at the primacy of rhythm in ancient Greek and Roman rhetorical theory. A discussion of relevant excerpts from the writings of the ancient Roman rhetorician Quintilian establishes that the ancient Greek and Roman rhetoricians placed primary importance on rhythm as a pedagogical tool influencing structure and delivery in ancient rhetoric. It then conducts a comprehensive review of the historical influence of the Dalcroze Eurhythmics pedagogical method on the communication arts. It establishes this musical movement pedagogy's importance Lu 20th and 21st century thought by clarifying the ties between Emile Jaques-Dalcroze and the leaders of many major historical developments in the communication arts, as well as education, physical education and therapy, in the 20th and 21st centuries. It proposes several suggestions for future pedagogical uses of Dalcroze Eurhythmics in the communication arts fields, including a brief description of musical exercises currently used in arts education and a brief discussion of proposed exercises specifically applying to speech, forensics, theater, and oratory.


A Thesis Presented to the School of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2004 Kenton Bruce Anderson.

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