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Most believe that the ability to carry a tune is unevenly distributed in the general population. To test this claim, we asked occasional singers (n=62) to sing a well-known song in both the laboratory and in a natural setting (experiment 1). Sung performances were judged by peers for proficiency, analyzed for pitch and time accuracy with an acoustic-based(More)
Congenital amusia is a musical disorder characterized by impaired pitch perception. To examine to what extent this perceptual pitch deficit may compromise singing, 11 amusic individuals and 11 matched controls were asked to sing a familiar tune with lyrics and on the syllable /la/. Acoustical analysis of sung renditions yielded measures of pitch accuracy(More)
Recognizing a well-known melody (e.g., one's national anthem) is not an all-or-none process. Instead, recognition develops progressively while the melody unfolds over time. To examine which factors govern the time course of this recognition process, the gating paradigm, initially designed to study auditory word recognition, was adapted to music. Musicians(More)
Eight adults with a music-specific learning disability (i.e., tone deafness, but we prefer the term "congenital amusia") were asked to tap along with music (e.g., Ravel's Bolero) and with nonmusical isochronous sequences (i.e., noise bursts). The amusic persons' tapping performance was poorly synchronized with music compared to that of nine matched control(More)
Detecting distinctions between the styles of classical music (e.g. Baroque and Romantic) is often viewed as the privilege of musicians. However, this elite perspective underestimates the abilities of non-musicians. We report that Western musicians and non-musicians, and non-Westerners (i.e. Chinese participants) rated pairs of excerpts presented auditorily(More)
Recent evidence indicates that the majority of occasional singers can carry a tune. For example, when asked to sing a well-known song (e.g., "Happy Birthday"), nonmusicians performing at a slow tempo are as proficient as professional singers. Yet, some occasional singers are poor singers, mostly in the pitch domain, and sometimes despite not having(More)
We examined the effect of rate on finger kinematics in goal-directed actions of pianists. In addition, we evaluated whether movement kinematics can be treated as an indicator of personal identity. Pianists' finger movements were recorded with a motion capture system while they performed melodies from memory at different rates. Pianists' peak finger heights(More)
Singing is as natural as speaking for the majority of people. Yet some individuals (i.e., 10-15%) are poor singers, typically performing or imitating pitches and melodies inaccurately. This condition, commonly referred to as "tone deafness," has been observed both in the presence and absence of deficient pitch perception. In this article we review the(More)
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.(More)
Singing is as natural as speaking for humans. Increasing evidence shows that the layman can carry a tune (e.g., when asked to sing a well-known song or to imitate single pitches, intervals and short melodies). Yet, important individual differences exist in the general population with regard to singing proficiency. Some individuals are particularly(More)