Researchers from Institut Marquès in Barcelona have looked at what kind of music babies like to get funky to whilst they’re still in the womb. Or enjoy, at least.
The scientists looked at which music kept fetuses happiest in a study of 300 babies 18-38 weeks into pregnancy. In order to gauge how much the babies were contented by the music, the researchers looked at mouth and tongue movements, The Telegraph reports. Tongue and mouth movements are rare during this part of pregnancy, the researchers note, and are positive signs of stimulation.
The fetuses were played 15 songs, including rock, classical, traditional world music, and pop.
The team found that unborn babies tend to have more traditional tastes in music than adults, preferring classical music over pop songs. The tiny little fuddy-duddies were more stimulated by Beethoven’s Ode to Joy than hits from Shakira or Adele.
Overall, the songs that babies were the most indifferent about, scoring lowest on the scale, were pop songs. Waka Waka by Shakira and Too Much Heaven by the Bee Gees scored the lowest of all the songs played (well done, babies – good taste), with Someone Like You by Adele scoring not much higher.
Showing even more excellent taste, the fetuses reacted more to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and YMCA by the Village People.
Fetuses have excellent taste.
The fetuses were also played human speech, as well as recordings of child-favorite Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse made babies react more than ordinary human voices, but less than most of the songs.
The fetuses tended to prefer traditional music and repeated sounds.
“Music is a form of ancestral communication between humans, the communication through sounds, gestures and dances preceded the spoken language”, Marisa López-Teijón, the director of Institut Marquès, said in a statement.
“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.”
The highest-scoring music overall was by Mozart, closely followed by Bach. However, before you start blasting Bach at your belly, you should know that your unborn baby probably won’t hear it. The music in the study was played through a specially designed vaginal speaker.
“Foetuses can barely perceive external sounds,” added López-Teijón.