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‘Hush a bye baby’, LP record, United States, 1975-1980

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‘Hush-a-bye-baby’ was an LP record produced by RCA. It was intended to be played to newborn babies. It was designed by Dr Michele Clements (1929-2002). She was a specialist in the development of hearing in foetuses and young children. A number of tracks on the album simulate sounds heard by the foetus while in the womb. These include the constant hum formed by the mother’s heartbeat and sounds heard through the placenta and navel cord. The rest of the tracks are classical music, including Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’. Each track was picked by Clements. Her selection was based on measuring the most pleasing pitches with an audiometer. Clements said of her work: “Babies like pure, clear notes and a rhythm similar to that of the human heart. A primal beat. Which is after all, a pretty good description of an old fashioned lullaby.” Clements worked with renowned violinist Yehundi Menuhin (1916-1999) on the project. The tracks are supposed to have a soothing effect to cause sleep. Music is still produced for unborn babies.

Object number:

2004-277

 

Glossary:

Glossary: uterus

The hollow reproductive organ in female mammals. The uterus is where the foetus develops after conception. The word 'womb' is often used among non-medical people to refer to the same area.

Glossary: placenta

The placenta is an organ, rooted to the lining of the womb, which links an unborn baby's blood supply to the mother’s. By linking to the mother's blood supply, the placenta carries out functions that the unborn baby cannot.

Glossary: LP record

A type of long-playing record pressed in vinyl