Music to All Ears

    Donna Stoering explains how cross-cultural music offers an excellent teaching tool
    for K–12 students of languages, literacy, and diversity

    It is intriguing to realize that at times there is little distinction between spoken languages and musical ones. Consider, for instance, the complex rhythms and slight tonal variations of some Aboriginal tribes who communicate through clicking sounds; non-native Mandarin and Cantonese speakers who have to tune their ears to differentiate between the all-important but subtle changes in pitch inflection that determine very different words and meanings; and travelers who often describe the Italian language as being “extremely musical” with its “melodic” cadences and vowel combinations.

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