Thirty-eight children between ages 3 and 12 listened to 12 short musical passages derived from a counterbalanced 2 × 2 arrangement of (1) major versus minor modes and (2) harmonized versus simple melodic realizations of these modes. For each passage, they pointed to one of four schematic faces chosen to symbolize happy, sad, angry, and contented facial expressions. The main result was that all children, even the youngest, showed a reliable positive-major/negative-minor connotation, thus conforming to the conventional stereotype. The possible contributions of native and experiential factors to this behavior are discussed.


Moog (1976a)
(Snodgrass & Corwin, 1988),
First International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Kyoto, Japan, October 1989.
NSF Grant GB 86 08344


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