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The Role of Auditory Feedback in Sustaining Vocal Vibrato
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (2003)
  • Ciara Leydon, Sacred Heart University
  • Jay J Bauer, Northwestern University
  • Charles R. Larson, Northwestern University

Vocal vibrato and tremor are characterized by oscillations in voice fundamental frequency (F0). These oscillations may be sustained by a control loop within the auditory system. One component of the control loop is the pitch-shift reflex (PSR). The PSR is a closed loop negative feedback reflex that is triggered in response to discrepancies between intended and perceived pitch with a latency of ∼100 ms. Consecutive compensatory reflexive responses lead to oscillations in pitch every ∼200 ms, resulting in ∼5-Hz modulation of F0. Pitch-shift reflexes were elicited experimentally in six subjects while they sustained /u/ vowels at a comfortable pitch and loudness. Auditory feedback was sinusoidally modulated at discrete integer frequencies (1 to 10 Hz) with ±25 cents amplitude. Modulated auditory feedback induced oscillations in voice F0 output of all subjects at rates consistent with vocal vibrato and tremor. Transfer functions revealed peak gains at 4 to 7 Hz in all subjects, with an average peak gain at 5 Hz. These gains occurred in the modulation frequency region where the voice output and auditory feedback signals were in phase. A control loop in the auditory system may sustain vocal vibrato and tremorlike oscillations in voice F0.

  • vibrato,
  • Auditory system,
  • loudness,
  • Phonetic segments
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Citation Information
Ciara Leydon, Jay J Bauer and Charles R. Larson. "The Role of Auditory Feedback in Sustaining Vocal Vibrato" Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Vol. 14 (2003)
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