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date: 20 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Adam Ockelford draws attention to that section of the population that tends not to engage in everyday listening in the usual way; those for whom the acoustic properties of sound are prioritized over its function. In particular, Ockelford points to the listening of autistic children for whom the perceptual qualities of sound exert an especial fascination at the expense of the meaning that everyday listening normally offers. Through research that supports his contention that the development of musical abilities in children precedes that of language skills, Ockelford makes the claim that the aural imagination of some of those on the autism spectrum is one that processes all sounds, even speech, for their music-structural properties and thus it is music that is the autistic person’s gateway to communication and empathy.

Keywords: autism, everyday listening, music perception, child development, absolute pitch

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