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Intuitive parenting performance: the embodied encounter with art
Español, Silvia y Shifres, Favio.
7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM 2009). European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, Jyväskylä, Finland, 2009.
Background: Intersubjectivity experiences established between adults and infants are partially determined by the particular ways in which adults are active in front of babies. An important amount of research focuses on the “musicality” of infant-directed speech (well-defined melodic contours, tonal and rhythm variations, etc.) and its role in linguistic enculturation. However, more recently, researchers have suggested that adults bring also a multimedia performance to infants. According to this, some scholars seem to find in that multimedia stimulation indicators of the genesis of the performing arts (as music and dance). In spite of these speculations, the way in which the parental performance is related to performing-art forms remains still unexplored. The study of such performances has scarcely been tackled using tools from the performing-art analysis. Aims: To analyze the adult performance using analytical categories and methodologies of analysis broadly validated in the fields of music interpretation and dance movement. Method: Microanalyses of adult-infant (7 months old) interactions are presented. The structure of the spoken component of the performance was analyzed in line with classical musical form categories, while its expressive dimension was studied, according to research in expressive music performance, focusing on dynamics (sonority) and rubato (timing). Movement was analyzed using the Laban-Bartenieff’s Movement Analysis System. Results: Results show: (i) the spoken component organized similarly to some standard musical form organizations in musical culture duets; (ii) an expressive dimension of that component, with patterns of rubato and dynamics broadly contributing to the phrasing, and patterns of accents highlighting expressive features rather than prosodic requests as they are used in music performance in the musical culture duets; (iii) holistic movement unities matching with “musical” spoken phasing concerning to length and timing; (iv) these unities being modeled by processes of repetition-variation, motive development, capturing and modification of environmental stimulation and use of behavioral features of the infant; (v) infant participation (by vocalizing, smiling and kicking out) when meaningful performance facts occur. Conclusions: The functional value of intuitive parenting performance is discussed in relation to: (i) infant´s processes of aesthetic enculturation; (ii) adult´s hermeneutic processes of non-verbal interpretation and its effect in the infant; and (iii) the implications on the development of general cognitive skills, such as making sense up of non-propositional unities.
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