Effects of Stimulus Duration and Vowel Quality in Tone Perception by English Musicians and Non-musicians

Si Chen, Yiqing Zhu, Ratree Wayland, Yike Yang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


The link between music and language has beena subject of great interest, and evidencesuggesting a connection between musicalabilities and prosodic processing skills inlanguage is growing. Acoustic fundamentalfrequency (F0), perceived as pitch, differentiatesnotes in music and word meaning in lexical tonelanguages. This study examines categoricalperception of pitch stimuli among 14 Englishmusicians and 15 English non-musicians, bothgroups having no exposure to tonal languages.The stimuli consist of continua of falling andrising F0 contours produced on high and lowvowels with 9 different durations. The resultsrevealed that musicians were more sensitive tovariation in stimulus duration than nonmusicians were, and music experience enhancedthe sharpness of category boundaries.Significant main effects of vowel quality andpitch directions as well as two-way interactionsbetween vowel and pitch direction, vowel andduration, group and duration, and pitch directionand duration on identification rate were alsofound. Formulae for minimum duration requiredfor English musicians and non-Englishmusicians to perceive rising and falling F0 werederived, revealing that musicians require lesstime to perceive a pitch fall and rise if the changeis less than 12semitones.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, PACLIC 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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