Musical Memory and Pitch Discrimination Abilities as Correlates of Vocal Pitch Control for Speakers with Different Tone and Musical Experiences

Li-Hsin Ning


This paper investigates whether there is a correlation between pitch-related abilities (musical memory and pitch discrimination) and vocal responses to pitch perturbation in the following five groups: L2 learners of Mandarin (beginner or advanced), native Mandarin speakers without formal musical training, native Mandarin speakers specializing in instrument playing and native Mandarin speakers specializing in vocal performance. In the musical memory task, the participants had to judge whether two musical phrases were the same. In the adaptive pitch discrimination task, they had to listen to a series of two tones and judge whether the second tone was higher or lower than the first one. In the production task, they had to vocalize /a/ at a steady pitch under perturbed auditory feedback. Musical memory and pitch discrimination abilities had to do with tone and musical experiences. Mandarin-speaking musicians and vocalists performed the best, followed by native Mandarin speakers without formal musical training. The performance of the L2 groups was the worst; however, L2 advanced learners were still better than L2 beginners. It turns out that the ability to control vocal pitch in face of pitch perturbation was correlated with musical memory ability and pitch discrimination ability.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-125

Cite as: Ning, L. (2020) Musical Memory and Pitch Discrimination Abilities as Correlates of Vocal Pitch Control for Speakers with Different Tone and Musical Experiences. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 611-615, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-125.


@inproceedings{Ning2020,
  author={Li-Hsin Ning},
  title={{Musical Memory and Pitch Discrimination Abilities as Correlates of Vocal Pitch Control for Speakers with Different Tone and Musical Experiences}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={611--615},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-125},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-125}
}