When Speech Sounds Like Music

Falk, Simone and Rathcke, Tamara V and Dalla Bella, Simone (2014) When Speech Sounds Like Music. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40 (4). pp. 1491-1506. ISSN 0096-1523. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036858) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036858

Abstract

Repetition can boost memory and perception. However, repeating the same stimulus several times in immediate succession also induces intriguing perceptual transformations and illusions. Here, we investigate the Speech to Song Transformation (S2ST), a massed repetition effect in the auditory modality, which crosses the boundaries between language and music. In the S2ST, a phrase repeated several times shifts to being heard as sung. To better understand this unique cross-domain transformation, we examined the perceptual determinants of the S2ST, in particular the role of acoustics. In 2 Experiments, the effects of 2 pitch properties and 3 rhythmic properties on the probability and speed of occurrence of the transformation were examined. Results showed that both pitch and rhythmic properties are key features fostering the transformation. However, some properties proved to be more conducive to the S2ST than others. Stable tonal targets that allowed for the perception of a musical melody led more often and quickly to the S2ST than scalar intervals. Recurring durational contrasts arising from segmental grouping favoring a metrical interpretation of the stimulus also facilitated the S2ST. This was, however, not the case for a regular beat structure within and across repetitions. In addition, individual perceptual abilities allowed to predict the likelihood of the S2ST. Overall, the study demonstrated that repetition enables listeners to reinterpret specific prosodic features of spoken utterances in terms of musical structures. The findings underline a tight link between language and music, but they also reveal important differences in communicative functions of prosodic structure in the 2 domains.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: speech-to-song illusion
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > English Language and Linguistics
Depositing User: Tamara Rathcke
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2014 13:22 UTC
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 12:36 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/42796 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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