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Effects of syllable name change on pitch comparison

  • Zhiqiao Wang (a1) and Qingfen Hu (a1)

Abstract

Previous research has found that musicians’ pitch judgments, unlike non-musicians’, are influenced by syllable names. Although non-musicians fail to identify absolute pitches, they acknowledge the direction of pitch change. The present experiment investigated whether non-musicians’ judgments of pitch change can be influenced by the direction of syllable name change. Moreover, we examined the spatial, magnitudinal and sequential nature of pitches and syllable names. Participants (N = 33) were asked to hear two successive tones sung by syllable name and to judge the direction of pitch change by pressing vertically arranged buttons. Participants’ accuracy of pitch change judging was found to be influenced by the direction of syllable name change. However, the response location was not found to interact with pitch change or syllable name change. The distance effect was found in pitches but not in syllable names. A sequence effect was found that trials with early-in-sequence syllable names were responded faster than trials with late-in-sequence syllable names. These results suggest that syllable names can influence non-musicians’ pitch judgments in a relative context. We suggest that it is the sequential order of syllable names that is the product of cultural activities that interfere with the judgment of pitch change.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Qingfen Hu, Email: qingfenhu@bnu.edu.cn

References

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Keywords

Effects of syllable name change on pitch comparison

  • Zhiqiao Wang (a1) and Qingfen Hu (a1)

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