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Dina Kirnarskaya Musical prodigies: «fakes» and «realities»

Published in journal "Scientific notes of the Gnesins' Russian Academy of Music", 2014-3 , pages 55-73.

Resume: Musical prodigies as a phenomenon are known during several centuries while children appearing on concert stage are being used as a commercial product. There exists a supposition that such exploitation since early age could be the reason for their «burning out» when their talent fades away leading to various psychological traumas. The author argues that although such views are basically convincing it’s possible to offer another hypothesis based on psychological similarity of prodigies and so called «idiots-savants», autistic children and teenagers with extraordinary abilities. The author is offering various arguments to support her idea: according to the paper’s discourse «burned out» prodigies who failed to develop into outstanding musicians could share with idiots-savants autistic predisposition based on communication deficiencies connected in the to expressive ear for music. Expressive ear can be considered «communication centre» of musical talent referring to non-notational features of music.

Keywords: wunderkind, absolute pitch, savant, autism, expressive ear for music.

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