Abstract of my Research Project

The ability to discriminate pitch and duration is fundamental for the processing of both music and spoken language. An intensive musical training may improve the ability to discriminate sound changes in both linguistic and musical stimuli so that there is now convincing evidence that studying music helps learning foreign languages. By contrast, evidence for the reverse claim – a real transfer from linguistic experience to musical aptitude – is still lacking. This research investigates whether linguistic and musical knowledge can mutually influence each other as far as the features of pitch and duration are concerned. Three groups of subjects (i.e. Naïves, Musicians and Bilinguals) performed a discrimination task on sound stimuli that were either linguistic (Japanese words) or musical (isolated notes), and differed in either duration or pitch. Results showed that pitch but not duration discrimination is strongly improved by the early exposure to foreign languages as well as by regular music practice.

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