Music and Babies

Beatriz Ilari

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:
Music and Babies


It was not until the late 20th century that the systematic study of music in babyhood gained momentum. With the exception of sparse studies describing lullabies and singing practices in families with babies, the majority of key texts appeared in the literature in the 1980s. Two possible interrelated explanations exist for the relatively late blossoming of research concerning music and babies. First, the development of special research techniques has allowed researchers to study music perception and cognition in early life, which is arguably the main orientation to date. Second, there has been a gradual shift in the ways babies are perceived—from musically incompetent to competent. Since the 1980s, many studies have investigated how music is part of a baby’s life. Most of these studies have been carried out in North America and Western Europe, although cross-cultural works and studies from underrepresented countries are gradually emerging in the literature. Framed by a wide array of theoretical frameworks, epistemologies, and methodologies, these studies have helped to build an ever-growing corpus of knowledge concerning music and babies. For the purpose of this article, the latter is defined following both the general definition proposed by the Oxford Dictionary and the ages of children who participated in the reviewed studies, which range from prebirth to about thirty-six months postnatal age.

Article.  12647 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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