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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Singing has its beginnings before birth in the fetal experience of the maternal singing voice. The nature of this form of human musical communication is highlighted against speculation that music may have evolved through mother–infant interactions. This chapter presents an overview of selected research on fetal, neonatal, and infant auditory response to and experience of maternal singing. This includes characteristics of maternal infant-directed singing and the maternal–infant bonding inherent in maternal singing. The discussion in this chapter rests on theories of early artistic intelligence and learning that go beyond goals of survival, problem solving, object use, or language acquisition, to include “the biological phenomenon of love”. The suggestion is that communicative expressions between mother and infant involve sympathetic responses that occur through delicate expressions and sensitive awareness that supersede perceptive and discriminatory processes.

Keywords: maternal singing, fetal auditory response, neonatal auditory response, infant auditory response, maternal–infant bonding

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