The study of musical abilities and activities in infancy has the potential to shed light on musical biases or dispositions that are rooted in nature rather than nurture. The available evidence indicates that infants are sensitive to a number of sound features that are fundamental to music across cultures. Their discrimination of pitch and timing differences and their perception of equivalence classes are similar, in many respects, to those of listeners who have had many years of exposure to music. Whether these perceptual skills are unique to human listeners is not known. What is unique is the intense human interest in music, which is evident from the early days of life. Also unique is the importance of music in social contexts. Current ideas about musical timing and interpersonal synchrony are considered here, along with proposals for future research.
Symposium 1: The origines and consequences of congential amusia