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Multiple Intelligences: Musical Intelligence

Multiple Intelligences: Musical Intelligence

Who does not like music? Music does not understand cultures, age or sex ... Music is universal. It serves to dance, to concentrate, to walk, to fall in love, to rejoice, to make us sad. Music does not understand borders. We all like music, however, according to the theory of multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner, some enjoy more musical intelligence.

Everyone, or almost everyone, has a friend who is especially good at playing an instrument. And the most curious thing is that many of these friends have learned on their own or have received few classes. John Lennon, a component of one of the best groups in the history of music, The Beatles, received almost no musical instruction. He learned on his own and his friend Paul McCartney taught him some chords. How is it possible that he was such an exceptional musician?


  • 1 What is Musical Intelligence?
  • 2 Musical Intelligence has always been there
  • 3 Historical musical picture
  • 4 Stages of musical development in the individual
  • 5 Profile of subjects with Musical Intelligence
  • 6 Promoting Musical Intelligence
  • 7 Bibliography

What is musical intelligence?

The Musical intelligence can be defined as all that skill related to perception, discrimination, transformation and musical expression. Every time we think in terms of sounds, rhythms and melodies we are making use of this kind of intelligence. This type of intelligence also allows us to express emotions and feelings without words, only through sounds and melodies.

"The therapeutic power of music is very important, and it has a relaxing effect on movements that would be impossible not to mediate their performance."

-Oliver Sacks-

The physical Philip Ball states that Music goes beyond the purely cognitive. According to the author, music "It can affect the immune system, increasing the levels of proteins that fight microbial infections".

The ethnomusicologist John blacking ensures that "The development of the senses and the education of emotions through art are not only desirable options, but essential choices for balanced action and effective use of intellect".

Musical Intelligence has always been there

The first signs of musical movements date back to the prehistory. Findings and inquiries of rock paintings have been produced. rites of that time in which music was part. Music could come from nature as from one's own voice. The bones, reeds, trunks and other elements served to produce sounds.

In Egypt it was the priests who possessed the most advanced knowledge of music even using the scale of seven sounds. Egypt already had instruments such as the harp and the oboe. Here we can see how they used both string and wind instruments to produce music.

In Mesopotamia musicians enjoyed great prestige. His job was to accompany the kings in acts of worship, in palace ceremonies and in wars. In ancient Greece the instruments used were the lyre, the zither, the syringa and different types of drums.

"Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flights to the imagination, comfort to sadness and life and joy to all things."


In the Middle Ages highlights the Gregorian chant as a means of religious expression. In the Renaissance (XV and XVI centuries) was an explosion creative for countries like France, Germany, England, Spain and Italy. But where this creative explosion would have more strength would be in the Baroque (17th and 18th centuries). The baroque serves as a prelude to classicism where music becomes more balanced between structure and melody.

During the Romanticism the art The most valued was the musical. Romantic composers set aside the rigid structure of classicism and sought ways to express feelings and emotions much more directly and passionately.

The twentieth and twenty-first century meant a musical revolution at many levels. New movements such as microtonalism, neoclassicism, impressionism, electronic music, and all the styles we know today appear.

This brief review of musical history allows us to observe that Music is not a static element, but it is a moving art. The form may be different, but the goal is always the same: expression through rhythms, melodies or songs of feelings, emotions and thoughts.

Historical musical picture

  • Prehistory (5000 BC - 5000 BC) - Hunting song and war around the fire
  • Ancient World (5000 BC - 476 AD) - Egypt: knowledge reserved for priests. Use of instruments such as the harp (Egypt) or the pan flute (Greece).
  • Middle Ages (450 - 1450) - Liturgical Gregorian chant.
  • Renaissance (1450 - 1600) - Sacred music: The molete. The Mass Vocal music. The Madrigal Instrumental music.
  • The Baroque (1600 - 1750) - The gross concert. The escape. The opera. The sonata The suite. The coral The cantata The oratory
  • Classic (1750 - 1820) - The sonata. THE theme and variations. The minuet and the Trio. The rondo. The symphony and the classical concert. Chamber music.
  • Romantic (1820 - 1900) - The singing. Nationalism
  • The XX-XXI Century (1900-present) - Entrepreneurship and symbolism. Neoclassicism Expressionism Tonal Dodecagon System Serialism Electronic music. Random music. Microtonics The Jazz. The blues. The living. Ragtime. The rock.

Stages of musical development in the individual

  • First months. The baby loves to hear the sounds of the human voice, especially those of mothers. It is recommended that parents sing harmonious and simple songs.
  • 6-24 months They begin to associate songs with specific movements and to differentiate timbres of voices. Development of emotional responses to different songs.
  • 2 years. You can repeat short verses of songs and react rhythmically to the music.
  • 3 years. Gradually it begins to accumulate repertoire of songs. It also explores contrasts of different levels of timbre, duration, intensity and feels pleasure with the sound.
  • 4 years. Distinguish sounds from different musical instruments. It is able to discriminate noises and sounds. Show preference for percussion sounds.
  • 5 years. Improvement of coordination skills. Music begins to become an ideal means to know, learn and express.
  • 6 years. The musical creativity is emerging little by little.
  • 6-9 years The musical communication, interpretation and creation of sounds begins. Imitation begins. Perceive the rhythm. The first notions of own musical tastes arise.
  • 10-11 years. Musical development loses strength in these ages and stabilizes. Here comes into play the fact that the child receives a specific musical education.

Profile of subjects with Musical Intelligence

From an early age, people who stand out in musical intelligence tend to be attracted to all kinds of melodies as well as the sounds of nature. You can see them following the compass with your foot or through an object. They like to sing, listen to music, play (or try) some instrument.

His learning, a general level, It is much more powerful if it suits them with rhythms, melodies or listening to music. They are very creative and invent their own songs. This type of intelligence can manifest itself before having received any type of musical teaching.

An important aspect that attracts a lot of attention are the rapid advances made by the subject when he receives musical training. It is clear evidence that can show that biologically I was already prepared for music. When we were little, a classmate always stood out from the rest in music class. Another example of musical intelligence is autistic children with difficulties in speaking but they play an instrument in an exceptional way.

Another characteristic of people with musical intelligence are those able to listen to a melody and play it respecting the sound qualities without excessive difficulty. In the same way, they are able to conceptualize the meaning of a melody and combine its elements creating, in this way, new musical forms.

Promoting Musical Intelligence

Obviously, Although we have outstanding emotional intelligence, empowerment and development is essential. It is useless to enjoy this ability if our surroundings do not stimulate us and do not encourage this facet. We can "come prepared" to be virtuous of the piano but if we never have the opportunity to play it, we will never exploit this ability.

When we exploit this aspect, we can acquire a skill and mastery so high that creating a song can be a simple task. We can combine rhythms, sounds, melodies, instruments with some ease.

John williams, director and musical composer of soundtracks for famous films like Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones or E.T., is a clear example of great musical intelligence. A man capable of composing soundtracks that go down in the history of music and that are known worldwide.

While for some people it may be a titanic task to compose a song, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were able to create successful songs in a few days. Here you can see how some people enjoy clear musical intelligence. However, in other facets such as sport, they can have zero success. And as Howard Gardner says once again, it is neither better nor worse; just different. It is about different intelligences.


  • Gardner, H. (2004). Flexible minds: the art and science of knowing how to change our
    Opinion and that of others. Barcelona: Paidós.
  • Gardner, H. (2005). The five minds of the future: an educational essay. Barcelona:
  • Gardner, H., (2005). Reformulated intelligence: multiple intelligences in the
    21st century, Barcelona, ​​Paidós.
  • Gardner, H., (2011). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. Paidós Iberian.
  • Gardner, H., (2012). The development and education of the mind. Paidós Iberian.
  • Pirfano, I., (2013). Musical intelligence. Editorial Platform
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