Third International Workshop on Models and Analysis of Vocal Emissions for Biomedical Applications (MAVEBA 2003)

Florence, Italy
December 10-12, 2003

Auditory and Kinesthetic Feedback in Singing – Significance and Effects of Training on Pitch Control

D. Mürbe (1,2), G. Hofmann (1,2), F. Pabst (2), Johan Sundberg (3)

(1) Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Technical University of Dresden, Dresden, Germany
(2) Voice Research Laboratory, University of Music Carl Maria von Weber, Dresden, Germany
(3) Department of Speech, Music and Hearing, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden

An accurate control of fundamental frequency is one of the essential demands in professional singing. This control relies on auditory and kinesthetic feedback. However, a loud accompaniment may mask the auditory feedback, leaving the singers to rely on kinesthetic feedback. The object of the present study was to estimate the significance of auditory and kinesthetic feedback to pitch control in 28 students beginning a professional solo singer education. Since it seems reasonable to assume that pitch control can be improved by training, the same students were reinvestigated after 3 years of professional singing education. In both parts of the study the singers sang an ascending and descending triad pattern with and without masking noise in legato and staccato and in a slow and a fast tempo. Fundamental frequency and interval sizes between adjacent tones were determined and compared to their equivalents in the equally tempered tuning. The average deviations from these values were used as estimates of intonation accuracy. For both parts of the study, intonation accuracy was reduced by masking noise, by staccato as opposed to legato singing and by fast as opposed to slow performance. After education, the contribution of the auditory feedback to pitch control was not significantly improved while the kinesthetic feedback circuit was improved in slow legato and slow staccato tasks. The results support the assumption that the kinesthetic feedback contributes substantially to intonation accuracy and might be improved by training.

Index Terms. singing, pitch control, training, auditory feedback, kinesthetic feedback

Full Paper (reprinted with permission from Firenze University Press)

Bibliographic reference.  Mürbe, D. / Hofmann, G. / Pabst, F. / Sundberg, Johan (2003): "Auditory and kinesthetic feedback in singing – significance and effects of training on pitch control", In MAVEBA-2003, 183-186.