16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Dresden, Germany
September 6-10, 2015

The Effect of Spectral Slope on Pitch Perception

Jianjing Kuang, Mark Liberman

University of Pennsylvania, USA

This study aims to explore whether listeners integrate spectral cues in pitch-range perceptions. A forced-choice pitch classification experiment with four spectral conditions was conducted to investigate whether spectral cue manipulation can affect pitch-height perceptions. The participants in this experiment include tonal vs. non-tonal language speakers and musicians vs. non-musicians. The results show that the pitch classification function significantly shifted under different spectral conditions. Listeners generally hear higher pitches when the spectrum includes more high-frequency energy (i.e., tenser phonation). This study strongly supports the hypothesis that voice quality cues and F0 interact in pitch perceptions. Moreover, language experience and musical training can affect the magnitude of shifts.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kuang, Jianjing / Liberman, Mark (2015): "The effect of spectral slope on pitch perception", In INTERSPEECH-2015, 354-358.