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Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Music Education

Degree Name

Master of Music (MMus)



First Advisor

Bourne, Patricia, 1957-

Second Advisor

Youngblood, Felicia

Third Advisor

Dudenbostel, Ryan


Lullabies, often perceived as simple melodies sung to soothe children, are rich repositories of cultural wealth that transmit values, oral history, and societal expectations from caregivers to children. Drawing from interdisciplinary fields including anthropology, neuroscience, child development, pediatrics, psychology, sociology, and musicology, this thesis employs case studies as a descriptive research methodology to investigate the enculturative effects of lullabies and their influence on the cultural development of children. The thematic and musical content of lullabies are examined in order to understand their intersectionality and impact on enculturation. Through a structured and holistic framework analyzing the conditions surrounding the performance and audience of lullabies, termed the lullaby environment, this review elucidates the role of lullabies in shaping developmental qualities in children such as somatic well-being and regulation, lingual development, and tonal and harmonic perception in children, as well as the transmission of ethnocultural qualities such as values, religion, cosmology, and identity.




Music, music education, lullaby, lullabies, cultural development, child development, enculturation


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Lullabies; Music--Instruction and study; Child development; Socialization




masters theses




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