Annual Meeting of Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences
du 10 mai au 11 mai 2012
[en] Vocal accuracy ; singing ; voice quality ; pitch perception ; motor control
[en] Poor-pitch singing could be caused by poor pitch perception or poor vocal-motor control abilities. This study aims to contrast these two possible causes in order to determine the role of vocal control on the accuracy of sung performances among nonmusicians. Participants matched recordings of their own voices either by singing, or by manipulating those recordings on a physical instrument which could control the pitch of the vocal recording playback by sliding the finger along a position sensor. In addition, participants sang a full song from memory. Overall, participants were more accurate at matching the pitch of the original recording with the instrument than with their voice. In addition, singers who were more accurate at vocal pitch matching tended to have better vocal quality (as assessed through standard measurements, e.g. jitter, stability), and were better at singing whole songs.
This pattern of results confirms that vocal-motor control, rather than pitch perception ability, is the primary driver of singing ability, and provides insight into the relationship between pitch accuracy and vocal quality.