Babies are stimulated by classical music in the womb, study finds

17 October 2019, 12:59

Babies in the womb are most stimulated by classical music
Babies in the womb are most stimulated by classical music. Picture: Getty

By Sian Hamer

A new study has found classical music, and Mozart in particular, is the most stimulating genre for babies in the womb.

Babies in the womb are stimulated by classical music more than other genre, a study has found.

Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik (‘A Little Night Music’) caused a reaction in 91 per cent of foetuses, compared to Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ which only saw 60 per cent of foetuses respond.

Researchers at the Institut Marquès played music to 300 babies in the womb, all between 18 and 38 weeks of gestation. After playing the babies 15 different songs from three different music genres, the researchers studied the movements of their mouth and tongues.

Of the other classical pieces tested, Bach’s Solo BWV1030 caused tongue movement in 87 per cent of foetuses, while Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf saw tongue movement in 88 per cent.

Along with classical music, the study also included traditional music and pop-rock, which were all played through a specially designed internal speaker.

A traditional Spanish Christmas carol saw movement in 91 per cent of babies’s tongues, while 84 per cent reacted to a traditional Japanese song. Meanwhile, ‘Y.M.C.A’ by Village People saw tongue protrusion in just 10 per cent of babies.

Read more: This is the best classical music for babies >

“Music is a form of ancestral communication between humans, the communication through sounds, gestures and dances preceded the spoken language,” explains Dr. Marisa López-Teijón, the director of Institut Marquès.

“The first language was more musical than verbal, and it still is; we still tend instinctively to speak in a high pitched voice, because we know that newborn perceive those better, and this way they understand that we want to communicate with them.”

It isn’t yet clear why some music genres have more of a positive impact than others on the development of babies inside the mother’s womb. However, Dr. López-Teijón added:

“It is about the melodies that have persisted through the years.”