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Comparison of Word Intelligibility in Spoken and Sung Phrases

Collister, Lauren Brittany and Huron, David (2008) Comparison of Word Intelligibility in Spoken and Sung Phrases. Empirical Musicology Review, 3 (3). 109 - 125. ISSN 1559-5749

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Twenty listeners were exposed to spoken and sung passages in English produced by three trained vocalists. Passages included representative words extracted from a large database of vocal lyrics, including both popular and classical repertoires. Target words were set within spoken or sung carrier phrases. Sung carrier phrases were selected from classical vocal melodies. Roughly a quarter of all words sung by an unaccompanied soloist were misheard. Sung passages showed a seven-fold decrease in intelligibility compared with their spoken counterparts. The perceptual mistakes occurring with vowels replicate previous studies showing the centralization of vowels. Significant confusions are also evident for consonants, especially voiced stops and nasals.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Collister, Lauren Brittanylbcollister@pitt.eduLBC80000-0001-5767-8486
Huron, David
Date: July 2008
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Empirical Musicology Review
Volume: 3
Number: 3
Publisher: Empirical Musicology Review
Page Range: 109 - 125
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1559-5749
Official URL:
Related URLs:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2013 15:05
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 13:57


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