Absolute pitch and tone language - Two new studies
Two new studies provide evidence in favor of the hypothesis that absolute pitch is strongly influenced by a speech-related critical period. The first study examined the prevalence of absolute pitch among students in at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, as a function of age of onset of musical training, ethnicity, fluency in speaking a tone language, and country of early music education. Among those of East Asian ethnicity, performance on a test of absolute pitch was strongly correlated with fluency in speaking a tone language. The advantage of early onset of musical training did not interact statistically with the effects of tone language fluency, and further analyses showed that the results could not be explained by country of early music education. The second study investigated the pitch ranges of female speech in two relatively isolated villages in China. These pitch ranges clustered within each village, but differed significantly across the villages, indicating that, at least for speakers of tone language, the pitch range of speech is heavily influenced by an absolute pitch template that is developed through long term exposure to speech in the environment. Implications of these findings are discussed. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009 
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