Pitch Discrimination and Pitch Matching Abilities with Vocal and Nonvocal Stimuli


      Various stimulus types have been investigated in pitch discrimination and pitch matching tasks. However, previous studies have not explored the use of recorded samples of an individual's own voice in performing these two tasks. The purpose of this study was to investigate pitch discrimination and pitch matching abilities using three stimuli conditions (participant's own voice, a neutral female voice, and nonvocal complex tones) to determine if pitch discrimination and/or pitch matching abilities are influenced by the type of stimuli presented. Results of the pitch discrimination tasks yielded no significant difference in discrimination ability for the three stimuli. For the pitch matching tasks, a significant difference was found for the participants' voice versus neutral female voice and the participants' voice versus tonal stimuli. There was no significant difference in pitch matching ability between the neutral female voice and the tonal stimuli. There was no significant correlation between pitch discrimination and pitch matching abilities for any of the three stimuli types. These results suggest that it is easier to match the pitch of one's own voice than to match the pitch of a neutral female voice and nonvocal complex tones, although no difference was found for pitch discrimination abilities. One possible implication of this study is that differences in matching the pitch of one's own voice compared to matching other stimuli types may help to differentiate the source of singing inaccuracy (motor vs discrimination skills).

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