Laurel J Trainor and Chao He (2013)
Auditory and musical development
In: The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Psychology, ed. by Philip David Zelazo. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, vol. Vol. 1: Body and Mind, chap. 11, pp. 310-337.
The development of auditory perception is examined in relation to (1) identity and location of objects (auditory scene analysis) and (2) musical structure and meaning. Behavioral and brain research converges to indicate that some capacity to process the frequency, pitch, intensity, timbre, location, and timing of sounds is present very early in development, although there is a protracted experience-driven period of plasticity, with adult levels of maturity typically not reached until well in to childhood. Young infants are also able to process aspects of musical structure. At the same time, enculturation to the specific melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic structure of the musical system of a person’s culture depends on the considerable exposure to that musical system experienced by all members of the culture, and intensive musical training affects the speed and degree of that enculturation.