Volume 105, Issue 3, March 1999
Index of content:
- SELECTED RESEARCH ARTICLES 
105(1999); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.426686View Description Hide Description
Changes in magnitude and variability of duration, fundamental frequency, formant frequencies, and spectral envelope of children’s speech are investigated as a function of age and gender using data obtained from 436 children, ages 5 to 17 years, and 56 adults. The results confirm that the reduction in magnitude and within-subject variability of both temporal and spectral acoustic parameters with age is a major trend associated with speech development in normal children. Between ages 9 and 12, both magnitude and variability of segmental durations decrease significantly and rapidly, converging to adult levels around age 12. Within-subject fundamental frequency and formant-frequency variability, however, may reach adult range about 2 or 3 years later. Differentiation of male and female fundamental frequency and formant frequency patterns begins at around age 11, becoming fully established around age 15. During that time period, changes in vowelformant frequencies of male speakers is approximately linear with age, while such a linear trend is less obvious for female speakers. These results support the hypothesis of uniform axial growth of the vocal tract for male speakers. The study also shows evidence for an apparent overshoot in acoustic parameter values, somewhere between ages 13 and 15, before converging to the canonical levels for adults. For instance, teenagers around age 14 differ from adults in that, on average, they show shorter segmental durations and exhibit less within-subject variability in durations, fundamental frequency, and spectral envelope measures.
Does music performance allude to locomotion? A model of final ritardandi derived from measurements of stopping runners105(1999); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.426687View Description Hide Description
This investigation explores the common assumption that music and motion are closely related by comparing the stopping of running and the termination of a piece of music. Video recordings were made of professional dancers’ stopping from running under different deceleration conditions, and instant values of body velocity, step frequency, and step length were estimated. In decelerations that were highly rated for aesthetic quality by a panel of choreographers, the mean body velocity could be approximated by a square-root function of time, which is equivalent to a cubic-root function of position. This implies a linear relationship between kinetic energy and time, i.e., a constant braking power. The mean body velocity showed a striking similarity with the mean tempo pattern of final ritardandi in music performances. The constant braking power was used as the basis for a model describing both the changes of tempo in final ritardandi and the changes of velocity in runners’ decelerations. The translation of physical motion to musical tempo was realized by assuming that velocity and musical tempo are equivalent. Two parameters were added to the model to account for the variation observed in individual ritardandi and in individual decelerations: (1) the parameter q controlling the curvature, corresponding to the runners’ deceleration, and (2) the parameter for the final velocity and tempo value, respectively. A listening experiment was carried out presenting music examples with final ritardandi according to the model with different q values or to an alternative function. Highest ratings were obtained for the model with and Out of three functions, the model produced the best fit to individual measured ritardandi as well as to individual decelerations. A function previously used for modeling phrase-related tempo variations (interonset duration as a quadratic function of score position) produced the lowest ratings and the poorest fits to individual ritardandi. The results thus seem to substantiate the commonly assumed analogies between motion and music.