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Language and the Sense of Music

Egidio Freddi    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



The elements of music and sonority anticipate, precede and accompany the development of language; they serve to mediate the process of integration between the self and the alter ego. The body of our musical heritage is integrated with the social genesis of thought, and it allows us to recognize the experiences and emotional states of other human beings. Pre-verbal musical input substitutes the initial lack of practice of language; after the explosion of speech in the child, it further enriches language skills. The perception and the production of sound, starting from the use of the voice, which precedes the appearance of linguistic patterns, stem from precocious cerebral structures which are activated by sounds produced by the caregiver. This acoustic, proto-linguistic dialogue between the couple mother-child serves to create an ideal container where both cognitive and emotional data is present, and where the motivational and natural epistemological urge in children is reinforced. Pre-natal sounds, vocalises, sound games of Child Directed Speech, nursery rhymes and finally the sharing of spoken language are the aspects of musicality linked to language and concurrent to the linguistic and interpersonal growth of the skills in children.

March 1, 2012