An investigation of vocal pitch behaviors of Hong Kong children

Esther H S MANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The present study is an investigation of the plausibility of a link between first spoken language and the use of vocal pitch in speaking and singing. Comparisons were made between the use of pitch in the speech and songs among three groups of Hong Kong children, who were English monolinguals, Cantonese monolinguals, and Cantonese/English bilinguals. Speech and songs of 60 children age 3 and 4 were collected and acoustic analyses were performed to extract pitch. All children in the study used pitch to distinguish cognitively between their speech and songs. English monolinguals made wider differences between the fundamental frequency (F0) means for songs and speech compared to the two other language groups. Differences between the F0 means for the criterion and the own choice song were statistically significant in both age groups across languages, suggesting the performance of the two songs might have been very different for these children. English monolinguals had the highest F0 means for both songs, followed by the Cantonese/English bilinguals and then the Cantonese monolinguals. Findings of the study provide evidence of language differences in vocal pitch behaviors for speech and song production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
Issue number153-154
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Music


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