Lullabies and Playsongs

This Child Floats on Air
Is it possible to describe music in words? 

The Italian pianist and composer Ferruccio Busoni described music as a child that floats on air. It is a description that says nothing about music and still at the same time it says everything. 

  • Music needs a thinking ear, but words are not necessary for music appreciation.

Infant’s as Music Critics 
Music is a world full of emotions and associations and infants love lullabies and play songs. 

An infant’s preference for music develops early – before they can speak.  

  • But do infants prefer certain types of music? 
  • And if they do, what sort of music do they prefer?

A recent study examined infants’ preferences by using a head-turn preference procedure.   

  • Lullabies are soothing songs that lull the baby to sleep. 
  • Avoid high pitches! It seems like 6-and -7- month-old infants prefers low-pitched versions of lullabies. 
  • Young infants – 7-month-olds – listen longer to a lullaby of a novel pitch,  which suggests that they can remeber the pitch.

Play Songs 

  • Interestingly recent research suggests that infants prefer high-pitched versions of play–songs. 
  • Play-songs are more brilliant, snappy and rhythmic. 

It seems like infants are fast becoming budding music critics and that at a young age their pitch preferences is depending upon the context and music genre.  

The article about the effect of pitch: C. D. Tsang & N.J. Conrad, ”Does the message matter? The effect of song type on infants’ pitches preferences for lullabies and play songs”. Infant Behavioural Development 2009 Dec 25

Photos: Baby Hand On Piano by sixninepixels

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