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The Child as MusicianA handbook of musical development$
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Gary E. McPherson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744443.001.0001

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Underlying mechanisms and processes in the development of emotion perception in music

Underlying mechanisms and processes in the development of emotion perception in music

(p.221) Chapter 12 Underlying mechanisms and processes in the development of emotion perception in music
The Child as Musician

Emery Schubert

Gary E. McPherson

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes a spiral model to explain the development of the perception of emotion in music from infant to adolescent. Development begins with a “schematic” processing style (related to “absolutism”) which links emotion and music via automated responses to the environment, such as a startle to sudden loud sounds or attraction to infant-directed speech. The young child then moves into a period where veridical/one-to-one music–emotion connections are formed (related to “referentialism”) primarily as a result of exposure to cultural norms. The spiral then winds back toward an emphasis on schematic links, where children draw on their repertoire of musical experiences, and react at adult levels of emotion perception in music. The period of adolescence sees the spiral move back to a more individualized veridical processing focus, where pressures to become young adults and develop a personal identity drive the desire to form links with individual pieces and/or performers.

Keywords:   emotion in music, development, infants, children, adolescents, processing style, schematic, veridical, referentialism, absolutism

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