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Musical dynamics in early triadic interactions: a case study

Abstract

Research of the last 30 years showed the importance of music for psychological development. Communicative musicality studies described musical organisations in dyadic interactions (adult–baby). However, other perspectives proposed that, from the beginning of life, there are early triadic interactions (adult–object–baby) that should also be analysed. Following previous research, we hypothesised that early triadic interactions have a structured musical organisation. We recorded a 2-month-old child interacting with his mother and an object in their home and performed a microgenetic quantitative–qualitative analysis. Given the child’s age, we focused on musical characteristics of the mother’s actions. To our knowledge, this is the first study to combine data processing provided by ELAN, Finale, and Matlab-MIRtoolbox. Our analysis shows that the child participates in triadic interactions in which the mother communicates about and through the maraca using musical resources in increasingly complex ways. Musical structuring happens at the intersegment, intrasequence, and intersequence levels, and involves different musical parameters. We suggest musical organisation in early triadic interactions follows a holographic structure in which each piece carries information about dynamic processes of different timescales. Results highlight the importance of considering objects and their uses to better understand early communicative musicality.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics, The Language Archive, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. http://tla.mpi.nl/tools/tla-tools/elan/.

  2. 2.

    Chronological age: [years; months (days)].

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to especially thank Dr. Joanna Rączaszek-Leonardi for her valuable comments on this work, and for suggesting the holographic structure idea that we use here.

Funding

This study was supported by the Program for the Training of University Teachers [“Formación de Profesorado Universitario”] of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports, to which the first author of the article belongs [reference FPU16/05358] and project EDU2011-27840 (MINECO, Spain).

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Alessandroni, N., Moreno-Núñez, A., Rodríguez, C. et al. Musical dynamics in early triadic interactions: a case study. Psychological Research 84, 1555–1571 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-019-01168-4

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