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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Oct;81(Pt B):181-187. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.02.011. Epub 2017 Feb 14.

Temporal modulations in speech and music.

Author information

1
College of Biomedical Engineering and Instrument Sciences, Zhejiang University, China; Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, United States; Interdisciplinary Center for Social Sciences, Zhejiang University, China; Neuro and Behavior EconLab, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, China. Electronic address: ding_nai@zju.edu.cn.
2
Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, MA, United States; Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind, & Consciousness, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Toronto, Canada.
3
Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, United States; College of Biomedical Engineering and Instrument Sciences, Zhejiang University, China.
4
Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, MA, United States.
5
College of Biomedical Engineering and Instrument Sciences, Zhejiang University, China.
6
Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, United States; Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany.

Abstract

Speech and music have structured rhythms. Here we discuss a major acoustic correlate of spoken and musical rhythms, the slow (0.25-32Hz) temporal modulations in sound intensity and compare the modulation properties of speech and music. We analyze these modulations using over 25h of speech and over 39h of recordings of Western music. We show that the speech modulation spectrum is highly consistent across 9 languages (including languages with typologically different rhythmic characteristics). A different, but similarly consistent modulation spectrum is observed for music, including classical music played by single instruments of different types, symphonic, jazz, and rock. The temporal modulations of speech and music show broad but well-separated peaks around 5 and 2Hz, respectively. These acoustically dominant time scales may be intrinsic features of speech and music, a possibility which should be investigated using more culturally diverse samples in each domain. Distinct modulation timescales for speech and music could facilitate their perceptual analysis and its neural processing.

KEYWORDS:

Modulation spectrum; Music; Rhythm; Speech; Temporal modulations

PMID:
28212857
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.02.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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