Musical Intelligence: Definition, Experiments & Characteristics

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  • 0:01 Musical Intelligence
  • 1:45 Howard Gardner's…
  • 3:22 Experiments in Musical…
  • 4:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

What do Michael Jackson, Mozart, and Barbara Streisand all have in common? They all have musical intelligence. Learn more about musical intelligence from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Musical Intelligence

Have you ever been complimented on your ability to play an instrument? Maybe you enjoy listening to and composing music. Are you good at detecting rhythms, patterns, and pitches in music? Do you find that you learn concepts much easier when you turn them into lyrics? If so, you have demonstrated musical intelligence.

Beethoven, Cher, and Stevie Wonder are individuals considered to have high musical intelligence. In other words, they think in music and rhythms. People with musical intelligence are able to hear and recognize patterns easily. They are very sensitive to rhythm and sound. For example, they can easily distinguish the sound of a clarinet from the sound of a flute.

People with musical intelligence think in terms of patterns. For example, they look for patterns in new information in order to increase learning. They also look for patterns in speech and language. They remember things by turning them into lyrics or rhymes. People with musical intelligence have a strong appreciation of music.

People with musical intelligence are known to:

  • Seek patterns in their environment
  • Be drawn to sound
  • Easily memorize phrases and words in foreign languages
  • Enjoy dancing and singing
  • Use patterning to remember things
  • Have good rhythm
  • Be skilled at playing several instruments
  • Be zealous about music
  • Have the ability to easily remember songs
  • Have a high level of understanding of musical structure, notes, tone, and rhythm

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

According to the multiple intelligences theory proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983, there are eight different types of intelligence. They are:

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