Speech and Song in Childhood: A Symbiotic Development Musical development begins pre-birth. Normally, the fetal auditory system is functional throughout the 3rd trimester. The womb is a relatively quiet environment, and fetuses from 28–30 weeks have been observed to react reliably to external sounds, including their mothers ’ speech and singing, as well as external music (Abrams ... Article
Article  |   July 01, 2002
Speech and Song in Childhood: A Symbiotic Development
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Graham F. Welch
    School of Arts and Humanities, Institute of Education, University of London
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   July 01, 2002
Speech and Song in Childhood: A Symbiotic Development
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2002, Vol. 12, 7-11. doi:10.1044/vvd12.2.7
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2002, Vol. 12, 7-11. doi:10.1044/vvd12.2.7
Musical development begins pre-birth. Normally, the fetal auditory system is functional throughout the 3rd trimester. The womb is a relatively quiet environment, and fetuses from 28–30 weeks have been observed to react reliably to external sounds, including their mothers ’ speech and singing, as well as external music (Abrams & Gerhardt, 1997; Lecanuet, 1996). In particular, although speech is partially muffled and the sound spectrum is reduced for its higher frequencies, the pitch inflection of the mother ’ s speech (prosody) is clearly audible (Thurman & Grambsch, 2000). Such experiences can affect behavior post-birth, with neonates demonstrating a particular sensitivity to their own mother ’ s voice compared to other mothers, as well as sensitivity to the music of the maternal culture—the music that the mother listened to during pregnancy (Woodward, Fresen, Harrison, & Coley, 1996). For example:
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