Perceptual Connections between Prepubertal Children's Voices in their Speaking Behavior and their Singing Behavior

Institute of Education, University of London, Music Education (Arts and Humanities), London.
Journal of voice: official journal of the Voice Foundation (Impact Factor: 0.94). 07/2008; 23(6):677-86. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2008.03.004
Source: PubMed


Traditionally, children's speaking and singing behaviors have been regarded as two separate sets of behaviors. Nevertheless, according to the voice-scientific view, all vocal functioning is interconnected due to the fact that we exploit the same voice and the same physiological mechanisms in generating all vocalization. The intention of the study was to investigate whether prepubertal children's speaking and singing behaviors are connected perceptually. Voice recordings were conducted with 60 10-year-old children. Each child performed a set of speaking and singing tasks in the voice experiments. Each voice sample was analyzed perceptually with a specially designed perceptual voice assessment protocol. The main finding was that the children's vocal functioning and voice quality in their speaking behavior correlated statistically significantly with those in their singing behavior. The findings imply that children's speaking and singing behaviors are perceptually connected through their vocal functioning and voice quality. Thus, it can be argued that children possess one voice that is used for generating their speaking and singing behaviors.

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Available from: Graham Frederick Welch, Feb 20, 2015
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    • "Physiologically, the speaking voice and singing voice both recruit the same breathing, throat, vocal folds and larynx mechanisms, although some evolutionary theorists have claimed that singing and speaking behaviors may reflect different articulatory and physiological functions, especially during childhood (Brown, Martinez, Hodges, Fox, & Parsons, 2004). A recent study comparing children's speech and song found that the voice quality of 10-year-old children's voices, as rated by trained raters, were perceptually similar for both speaking and singing tasks, supporting the notion that the same physiological mechanism generates both speech and singing behaviors in children (Rinta & Welch, 2009), although it should be noted that there are no comparable studies in the adult literature. General measures of children's singing ability, such as voice quality, vocal range and the degree to which children use their singing voices, show changes across age. "
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