A calibrated recording and analysis of the pitch, force and quality of vocal tones expressing happiness and sadness; and a determination of the pitch and force of the subjective concepts of ordinary, soft and loud tones

Speech Monographs 01/1935; 2:81-137. DOI: 10.1080/03637753509374833


9males and 10 females were asked to repeat the vowel
ah immediately after reading a piece of literature and listening to phonographic recordings of music judged by "experts" as indicating sadness and happiness. Oscillographic records of the vowels were made and analyzed. Results showed that the vocal responses to stimuli which evoke happiness are appreciably higher in pitch than the ordinary tones of the same subjects and higher than tones representative of sad states. This difference was found to be significant in both sexes. The average tones in response to literature or music judged as sad are practically the same as that of the subjects' ordinary tones. Differences in intensity and in tone quality were also observed for the two emotional states. Psychogalvanic readings taken during the experiment showed the presence of disturbances of an emotional nature. A second experiment to determine the subjects' conception of ordinary, soft, and loud tones showed that pitch changes with the intensity of the tones. Soft tones are lower in pitch than those designated as ordinary, and loud tones are invariably higher in pitch than either. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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    • "The ability to detect emotion in speech and music is an important task in our daily lives. The power of the human voice to communicate emotion is well documented in verbal speech (Fairbanks and Pronovost, 1938; Scherer, 1995) as well as in non-verbal vocal sounds (Skinner, 1935), and the human voice is thought to convey emotional valence, arousal, and intensity (Laukka et al., 2005) via its modification of spectral and temporal signals (Fairbanks and Pronovost, 1938; Bachorowski and Owren, 1995). The use of the human voice to convey emotion is abundant and vital developmentally as in the case of infant-directed speech (Trainor et al., 2000), and can be accurately identified by people of different cultures (Bryant and Barrett, 2008), suggesting that emotion communication may be a universal function of the human voice. "
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    ABSTRACT: Music is a powerful medium capable of eliciting a broad range of emotions. Although the relationship between language and music is well documented, relatively little is known about the effects of lyrics and the voice on the emotional processing of music and on listeners' preferences. In the present study, we investigated the effects of vocals in music on participants' perceived valence and arousal in songs. Participants (N = 50) made valence and arousal ratings for familiar songs that were presented with and without the voice. We observed robust effects of vocal content on perceived arousal. Furthermore, we found that the effect of the voice on enhancing arousal ratings is independent of familiarity of the song and differs across genders and age: females were more influenced by vocals than males; furthermore these gender effects were enhanced among older adults. Results highlight the effects of gender and aging in emotion perception and are discussed in terms of the social roles of music.
    Frontiers in Psychology 10/2013; 4:675. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00675 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "One such cue is the magnitude of pitch movements. Specifically, sad affect is associated with low variability of the fundamental pitch of the voice; that is, sad voice is more "monotone" (Fairbanks & Pronovost, 1939; Banse & Scherer, 1996; Bergmann, Goldbeck & Scherer, 1988; Breitenstein, van Lancker & Daum, 2001; Davitz, 1964; Eldred & Price, 1958; Huttar, 1968; Skinner, 1935; Sobin & Alpert, 1999; Williams & Stevens, 1972). In musical terms, we might say that sad voice is associated with a narrow pitch range or that sad voice employs smaller melodic intervals. "
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    ABSTRACT: In speech prosody, small pitch movement is characteristic of sadness. Small melodic interval size is similarly known to be correlated with judgments of sadness in music perception. Starting with melodies in the major mode, a study is reported in which the effect of different scale modifications on the average interval size is examined. Lowering the third and sixth scale tones from the major scale is shown to provide an excellent way of reducing the average melodic interval size for a sample of major-mode melodies. The results are consistent with the view that melodic organization and the major-minor polarity are co-adapted, and that the minor mode is well tailored to evoke, express or represent sadness.
    11th International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, Seattle, Washington; 01/2011
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    ABSTRACT: The present study was designed to determine whether the technique used to control the semantic content of emotional communications might influence the results of research on the effects of gender, age, and particular affects on accuracy of decoding tone of voice. Male and female college and elementary school students decoded a 48-item audio tape-recording of emotional expressions encoded by two children and two college students. Six emotions — anger, fear, happiness, jealousy, pride and sadness — were expressed in two types of content-standard messages, namely letters of the alphabet and an affectively neutral sentence. The results of the study indicate that different methods for controlling content can indeed influence the results of studies of determinants of decoding performance. Overall, subjects demonstrated greater accuracy when decoding emotions expressed in the standard sentence than when decoding emotions embedded in letters of the alphabet. A technique by emotion interaction, however, revealed that this was especially true for the purer emotions of anger, fear, happiness and sadness. Subjects identified the less pure emotions of jealousy and pride relatively more accurately when these emotions were embedded in the alphabet technique. The implications of these results for research concerning the vocal communication of affect are briefly discussed.
    Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 01/1985; 9(2):121-129. DOI:10.1007/BF00987143 · 1.77 Impact Factor
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