Direct and octave-shifted pitch matching during nonword imitations in men, women, and children

Beate Peter, Bronsyn Foster, Heather Haas, Kyle Middleton, Kiersten McKibben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives To evaluate whether children, women, and men match the speaker's fundamental frequency (F0) during nonword imitation directly when the target F0 is within the responders' vocal ranges and at octave-shifted levels when the target is outside their vocal ranges, and to evaluate the role of a history of speech sound disorder (SSD) in the adult participants. Study Design Observational. Methods Nonword sets spoken by a man and a woman were imitated by 14 men, 21 women, and 19 children. Approximately half of the adults and two-thirds of the children had a history of SSD. F0 in the imitations was compared with that in the targets and in the participants' nonimitated control word productions. Results When the target F0 was within the responders' vocal ranges, the imitations approximated the target F0. Men imitating a woman's voice approximated F0 levels one octave below the target F0. Children imitating a man's voice approximated F0 levels one octave above the target F0. Women imitating a man's voice approximated the target F0 at a ratio of 1.5 known as the perfect fifth in music. A history of SSD did not influence the results. Conclusions This study replicates previous findings showing that target F0 was a salient aspect of the stimuli that was imitated along with the targets' segmental and prosodic components without explicit prompting. It is the first to show F0 convergence not only directly but also at relevant target/imitation intervals including the octave interval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260.e21-260.e30
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Direct pitch matching
  • Nonword imitation
  • Octave equivalence
  • Octave-shifted pitch matching
  • Perfect fifth
  • Phonetic convergence
  • Speech sound disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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