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Re: AP in all of us? New evidence from speech research

Title: Re: AP in all of us? New evidence from speech research
Martin, Rebecca and others,
I have not participated in this discussion group previously, but the thread of this discussion is getting  close to work that we are doing.  In fact, we have an article under review in JASA that deals with the issue of whether people use a fixed or some type of variable reference to maintain a particular voice fundamental frequency.  I am more of a motor physiologist by training and approach the issue of pitch memory from that angle.   In our work, we provide incorrect auditory pitch feedback (that is, pitch-shifted auditory feedback) to subjects while they are sustaining a constant note.  Our work to date suggests people use a variable reference, be it pitch memory or something else.  Our work also suggests that the auditory feedback is much more important for this control process than other types of sensory feedback, such as from muscle or joint receptors in the laryngeal region.  Unfortunately, we haven't done enough work on this issue in trained singers yet, and so I can't address some of the issues that have been raised in this discussion.  I would mention, however, that several years ago, I sinusoidally modulated voice pitch feedback by + and - 100 cents at a frequency of about .1 Hz to a singer with perfect pitch (or absolute pitch if you prefer), and she was unable to control her voice F0.  That is, the modulated pitch feedback drove her voice F0 output up and down in a manner that compensated for the changes in pitch feedback.  By modulating her voice output, she kept the auditory feedback pitch at a set level.  I should add that this process happens automatically.  The people that we have tested in this type of paradigm automatically change their voice F0 to compensate for changes in pitch of auditory feedback.

The question was also asked about whether singers use some type of sensation from their larynx to hit a specific note.  This idea has probably been suggested by many people, but Johan Sundberg in his book, The Science of the Singing Voice, refers to this as muscle or proprioceptive memory.  This type of feedback would help the trained singer hit or maintain a note in a situation where there was a lot of other noise or
people singing other notes.  Even though our work suggests auditory feedback is most important, I am sure that singers learn to make adjustments to their laryngeal muscles based on the proprioceptive feedback from the larynx or other structures involved in voice control.



wouldn't you think that any pitch memory in the motor systems of the voice,
if it does exist, must have been mediated via the auditory system?


----- Original Message -----
From: Rebecca Mercuri <mercuri@gradient.cis.upenn.edu>
To: <nombraun@POST.NETLINK.SE>
Cc: <AUDITORY@LISTS.MCGILL.CA>; <mercuri@gradient.cis.upenn.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 5:08 PM
Subject: Re: AP in all of us? New evidence from speech research

> In the days when there used to be more "jingle" type ads on TV,
> if you asked a kid to sing the commercial, they'd typically sing
> it on or very close to the original pitch the ad was in. I recall
> some years ago reading or hearing about a study where the popular
> acapella baseball songs (ones not prompted by the stadium organist)
> were surveyed and folks around the US sang those at the same pitch
> as well.
> My personal theory is that it's a physical memory -- song singing
> involves the muscles (or whatever they are) in the throat/larynx
> and there's probably some feedback that provides a form of pitch
> memory as in "that feels like the comfortable singing pitch I
> know for that song." Anyone know of any work on that angle?
> Rebecca Mercuri, Ph.D.

Chuck Larson
Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: 847-491-2424
Fax: 847-467-2776
email: clarson@northwestern.edu