pitch interval distribution of speech (Richard Parncutt )

Subject: pitch interval distribution of speech
From:    Richard Parncutt  <richard.parncutt(at)kfunigraz.ac.at>
Date:    Fri, 30 Oct 1998 17:16:51 +0100

Vos & Troost (1989) showed that, in melodies from various world musics, the frequency-of-occurrence distribution of intervals between successive tones has a Poisson-shaped with a peak at around 2 semitones (your typical scale step). No surprise, but it raises the question of the perceptual origin of the distribution. Hypothesis: speech exhibits a similar distribution - i.e. if you determine the pitch (or F0 at the P-centre?) of successive voiced sounds in typical speech (I'm thinking about 4 voiced sounds per second) then you also get a peak at an interval of about 2 semitones (say, 13 % in frequency). Is there any data on this? And another question - is it just a coincidence that this seems to correspond to critical bandwidth, or could the correspondence be causal? Since this list is getting a little overactive lately, please reply privately. If I'm lucky enough to get several cogent replies, I'll forward a summary to the list. Richard Parncutt Dept. of Musicology, Univ. of Graz, Mozartgasse 3, 8010 Graz, Austria Tel+43-316 380-2409/-2405 Fax-9755 richard.parncutt(at)kfunigraz.ac.at Reference Vos, P.G., & Troost, J.M. (1989). Ascending and descending melodic intervals: Statistical findings and their perceptual relevance. MP, 6, 383-396.* Email to AUDITORY should now be sent to AUDITORY(at)lists.mcgill.ca LISTSERV commands should be sent to listserv(at)lists.mcgill.ca Information is available on the WEB at http://www.mcgill.ca/cc/listserv

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