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Title: The temporal structure of mother-infant interactions in musical contexts
Author: Longhi, Elena
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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The aim of this study is to investigate the nature of temporal structure in mother-infant interactions in musical contexts. Although in the last decade there has been an increase in infant perception of music and maternal singing, little is known about the nature of mother-infant interaction in contexts where mothers sing or play taped music to their infants. This research has several foci: 1) to examine the tempos used by mothers in songs and taped music, as well as the temporal structure of the mothers’ songs, paying particular attention to metrical and phrasing structure; 2) to measure the amount and kinds of behaviours produced by the partners of the dyad during musical interaction, with attention to their level of activity and their cyclical behaviours, as well as their communicative-affective behaviours and the infants’ emotional states and degree of engagement; 3) to analyse the extent and precision of the partners’ synchronisation of their behaviours with self, the musical beat and the other partner; 4) to compare the results of interactions based around songs with those based around taped music. This is an exploratory study which applies a qualitative, micro-analytic observational method to 4 mother-infant dyads: two English-speaking mothers (ES) and two Gaelic-speaking mothers (GS). Two datasets of musical interactions are examined in detail. One includes interactions based around songs and was obtained by asking mothers to sing songs to their 3-4 month-old infants in two contexts: no-touch (where they were asked not to touch their infants) and touch (where they were permitted to touch their infants), and to sing to their 7-8 month-olds in the touch context. The second dataset includes interactions based around taped music and was acquired by asking mothers to play to their 4-5 month-old infants what they considered to be the infant’s favourite music and their own favourite music in two contexts: no-touch and touch. One of the most important discoveries from the thesis is with respect to hierarchical structure. A detailed analysis of the temporal structure of the songs revealed that mothers emphasise the metrical and phrasing structure of their songs, both acoustically through their singing, and behaviourally by synchronising their physical and communicative-affective behaviours with the beats relevant to the temporal structure of the song.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available