Document Type


Publication Date



There are many acoustic differences between speech and song, such as frequency range, average fundamental frequency, pitch stability, and rhythmic regularity. Previous studies have shown that musical and linguistic knowledge are recruited differently, but no studies have addressed what specific acoustic features people use to differentiate between speech and song. Our study is designed to determine what acoustic characteristics are used to distinguish speech from song, and to elucidate whether individual factors, such as musical training and tonal language experience, have an effect on these characteristics. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to rank 15 acoustic characteristics according to their importance in differentiating between speech and song. After listening to ambiguous sounding stimuli, participants were asked to re-rank the characteristics. Results showed that melody, beat, and rhythmic regularity were ranked significantly higher (X2=92.69, p


Global Winner in the Linguistics category.

Included in

Linguistics Commons