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The Effects of Masked and Delayed Auditory Feedback on Fundamental Frequency Modulation in Vocal Vibrato

  • Author Footnotes
    a Current Affiliation: Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712
    Rosemary A. Lester-Smith
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to
    Footnotes
    a Current Affiliation: Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712
    Affiliations
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
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  • Author Footnotes
    b Current Affiliation: Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 409 UCB, 2501 Kittredge Loop Drive, Boulder, CO 80309
    Allison Hilger
    Footnotes
    b Current Affiliation: Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 409 UCB, 2501 Kittredge Loop Drive, Boulder, CO 80309
    Affiliations
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
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  • Author Footnotes
    c Current Affiliation: Piedmont Healthcare, 710 Center Street, Columbus, GA, 31901
    Kylie E. Dunne-Platero
    Footnotes
    c Current Affiliation: Piedmont Healthcare, 710 Center Street, Columbus, GA, 31901
    Affiliations
    Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
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  • Jason H. Kim
    Affiliations
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
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  • Chun Liang Chan
    Affiliations
    Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
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  • Charles R. Larson
    Affiliations
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
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  • Author Footnotes
    a Current Affiliation: Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712
    b Current Affiliation: Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 409 UCB, 2501 Kittredge Loop Drive, Boulder, CO 80309
    c Current Affiliation: Piedmont Healthcare, 710 Center Street, Columbus, GA, 31901

      Summary

      Purpose

      Although relatively precise control over the extent and rate of fundamental frequency (fo) modulation may be needed for optimal production of vibrato, the role of auditory feedback in controlling vibrato is not well understood. Previous studies altered the gain and timing of auditory feedback in singers producing vibrato and showed inconsistent effects on the extent and rate of fo modulation, which may have been related to small sample sizes or limited analyses. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to further investigate whether the gain or timing of auditory feedback impacts control of vibrato in a larger sample of speakers and with advanced statistical analyses.

      Method

      Ten classically-trained singers produced sustained vowels with vibrato while their auditory feedback was masked with pink noise or multi-talker babble to reduce the gain of their auditory feedback and while their auditory feedback was delayed by about 200 or 300 milliseconds to alter the timing of their auditory feedback. Acoustical analyses measured changes in the extent and rate of fo modulation in the masked and delayed trials relative to control trials. Bayesian modeling was used to analyze the effects of noise-masked, babble-masked, and delayed auditory feedback on the extent and rate of fo modulation.

      Results

      There was compelling evidence that noise masking increased the extent of fo modulation, and babble masking increased the variability in the rate of fo modulation (ie, jitter of fo modulation). Masked auditory feedback did not affect the average rate of fo modulation. Delayed auditory feedback did not affect the extent, rate, or jitter of fo modulation.

      Conclusions

      The current study demonstrated that reducing the gain of the auditory feedback with noise masking increased the extent of fo modulation but did not affect the average rate of fo modulation in classically-trained singers producing vibrato. Reducing the gain of the auditory feedback with babble masking and altering the timing of auditory feedback with imposed delays did not affect the average extent or rate of fo modulation. However, babble masking increased the jitter of fo modulation rate, which suggests that modulated auditory feedback may affect the periodicity of fo modulation from one modulation cycle to the next. These findings clarify the role of auditory feedback in controlling vibrato and may inform the current reflex-resonance models of vibrato.

      Key Words

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