Lab. of Psychoacoust., Hospital Infantil de Mexico, Dr. Marquez No. 162, 06720 Mexico D.F., Mexico
The perception of fundamental changes within word (Mandarin and Cantonese) and phrase (English) samples was compared to the perception of fundamental frequency changes between the members of pairs of steady complex tones or of tonal intervals between the members of pairs of small tunes composed of similar tones in 5- to 12-year-old monolingual speakers of these languages. Some of these children had had training in Western instruments for from 1 to 5 years. A certain correlation was found between the perception of tonal intervals of major and minor second magnitude between notes in the pairs of tunes and the perception of similar intervals within the English phrase samples among native speakers of this language. This correlation was increased in subjects with a musical background. In contrast, there was a lack of correlation between the perception of frequency changes between isolated tones and the perception either of frequency changes within Mandarin or Cantonese word samples or of frequency changes at the end of English phrase samples.