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Noy, P. (1968). The Development of Musical Ability. Psychoanal. St. Child, 23:332-347.

(1968). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 23:332-347

The Development of Musical Ability

Pinchas Noy, M.D.

Ernst Kris (1925) wrote: "the study of art is part of the study of communication. There is a sender, there are receivers, and there is a message" (p. 16). As a medium of communication, music, like any language, is spoken and listened to. He who is capable of creating structures, of finding original forms of expression in this language, is a creative artist; he who knows how to speak it, through making its signs audible and intelligible, is a performing artist; while the perceiver, who is sensitive enough to hear and understand it, is the "listener." Yet, all three, the creator, the performer, and the listener, although having command of this language and mastering its secrets, do so without awareness of what this language is, what it is saying, how it is saying what it says, and how the listener comprehends that of which he does not know what it is. And all three are incapable of translating the language of music into any other intelligible language.

To provide answers to these questions, to disclose the intrinsic essence of this language, requires investigations penetrating the secret of the artist's peculiar ability to create and perform, and of the listener's ability to comprehend, enjoy, and respond emotionally. Evidently, such problems cannot be resolved without thorough study of the multiple issues involved. No one branch of science can provide an all-embracing resolution; only a multidisciplinary approach devolving on musicology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other sciences has a chance of attaining conclusive information.

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