The musical art of infant conversation: Narratingin the time of sympathetic experience, without rational interpretation, before words
Trevarthen, C. (2008). The musical art of infant conversation: Narrating in the time of sympathetic experience, without rational interpretation, before words. Musicae Scientiae, Special Issue: Narrative in Music and Interaction, 15-46.
Infants, like adults and many animals, move with rhythmic gestures that express motive states and changes of emotion and mood. But the communications of babies have a special creativity and message power. Infants are ready at birth to take turns in a "dialogue" of movements with a loving parent. They are attracted to extended engagement with human gestures, and sympathetic to many emotions resonating to the impulses and qualities of movement; imitating, seeking to play an active part in proto-conversations or playful duets of agency (Trevarthen, 1999). When the expressive forms are examined in detail, infant and partner are found to be sharing a subtle "musicality" of communication (Malloch, 1999). Very soon the early musical games become the habits or conventions of a mini-culture, improvised creations of meaning for each pair, of the kind that Maya Gratier calls a "proto-habitus" (Gratier, 2007). They become treasured memories of a special relationship.