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Relationships between Pitch-Matching Accuracy, Speech Fundamental Frequency, Speech Range, Age, and Gender in American English-Speaking Preschool Children

Valerie L. Trollinger
Journal of Research in Music Education
Vol. 51, No. 1 (Spring, 2003), pp. 78-94
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3345650
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Relationships between Pitch-Matching Accuracy, Speech Fundamental Frequency, Speech Range, Age, and Gender in American English-Speaking Preschool Children
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Abstract

This study is an investigation of the relationships among acoustical measurements of pitch-matching accuracy, speech fundamental frequency, speech frequency range, age, and gender in preschool children. Consideration was taken in applying known research concerned with the anatomical characteristics of the developing child voice to see if a relationship between the acoustic findings and anatomical structure and function was evident. Participants in the study were 70 English-speaking children, ages 36-71 months, from three geographical areas of the United States. Subjects were asked to engage in directed and spontaneous speech activities and short echo-singing activities. All speech and singing data were taped and subsequently analyzed for fundamental frequency (Fo) using the Cspeech acoustical voice analysis program. Results revealed (a) both speech Fo and speech range were the overall strongest predictors of pitch-matching accuracy (p < .0001) and (b) that age in months was a significant predictor (p = .03) of the ability to sing the lower pitches (C and D) used in the study. Gender also emerged as a significant predictor of pitch-matching accuracy, but not as strong as speech fundamental frequency or speech range. The acoustic findings supported previously established research findings concerned with child vocal anatomy and function.

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