Pitch Effects on Vowel Roughness and Spectral Noise for Subjects in Four Musical Voice Classifications This study was designed to investigate the effects of vocal fo on vowel spectral noise level (SNL) and perceived vowel roughness for subjects in high- and low-pitch voice categories. The subjects were 40 adult singers (10 each sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses). Each produced the vowel /a/ in isolation at ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1991
Pitch Effects on Vowel Roughness and Spectral Noise for Subjects in Four Musical Voice Classifications
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ruth A. Newman
    University of South Dakota, Vermlllion
  • Floyd W. Emanuel
    University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City
  • Request for reprints should be sent to Ruth A. Newman, Department of Communication, Program in Communication Disorders, Noteboom Hall, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD 57069.
Article Information
Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1991
Pitch Effects on Vowel Roughness and Spectral Noise for Subjects in Four Musical Voice Classifications
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 753-760. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.753
History: Received May 12, 1989 , Accepted August 28, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 753-760. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.753
History: Received May 12, 1989; Accepted August 28, 1990

This study was designed to investigate the effects of vocal fo on vowel spectral noise level (SNL) and perceived vowel roughness for subjects in high- and low-pitch voice categories. The subjects were 40 adult singers (10 each sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses). Each produced the vowel /a/ in isolation at a comfortable speaking pitch, and at each of seven assigned pitches spaced at whole-tone intervals over a musical octave within his or her singing pitch range. The eight /a/ productions were repeated by each subject on a second test day. The SNL differences between repeated test samples (different days) were not statistically significant for any subject group. For the vowel samples produced at a comfortable pitch, a relatively large SNL was associated with samples phonated by the subjects of each sex who manifested the relatively low singing pitch range. Regarding the vowel samples produced at the assigned-pitch levels, it was found that both vowel SNL and perceived vowel roughness decreased as test-pitch level was raised over a range of one octave. The relationship between vocal pitch and either vowel roughness or SNL approached linearity for each of the four subject groups.

Acknowledgments
The work presented here was part of a dissertation submitted by the first author to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree in speech-language pathology The authors are grateful to all the singers who provided vowel samples, and to listeners who volunteered to judge the samples. We are especially grateful to Donald E. Parker (Department of Biostatistics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center), who offered valuable suggestions regarding the data analysis.
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