The University of St. Thomas


Sletto, Thomas

Sletto, Thomas

The Effect of Four Pitch Models on the Pitch-Matching Accuracy in Singing by Children in Grades One Through Six
Thomas A. Sletto

The purpose of this investigation was to determine if there are differences in the pitch-making accuracy of children in grades one through six determined by four pitch stimuli.

One-hundred-two students, sixty females and forty-two males, volunteered from grades one through six to participate in this study. Subjects listened to a series of four different tonal patterns modeled by four different pitch models: a soprano model, a tenor model, a falsetto model, and a keyboard model.
Each participant responded, individually, to the recorded model by attempting to match the pitch by singing “loo”. These responses were recorded by a reel-to-reel magnetic tape recorder using a standard tabletop microphone.

The sixteen patterns recorded per subject were then evaluated by a computer-assisted device called a Video Voice, thus obtaining an accuracy score for each attempt. Scores were statistically analyzed using the StatView II micro-computer program on the MacIntosh LC II.

No significant differences were found in vocal accuracy between the genders. Significant differences were found between grade groups (Grades 1-2, Grades 3-4, and Grades 5-6) illustrating that maturation is a factor in vocal accuracy. However, subjects in Grades 3-4 exhibited the most accuracy to all pitch models used as stimulus, no matter which tonal pattern was presented. Significant differences in vocal accuracy were elicited by the four pitch models, with all participants responding most correctly to the soprano and falsetto models. Finally, the various tonal patterns played important roles when linked with the four pitch models when measuring vocal accuracy. Although no one particular tonal pattern elicited the highest scores through all grades, these patterns linked with the models made for significant differences in scores.

The following conclusions may be drawn from the results of this study: (1) Children match pitches with equal success in response to a soprano or a falsetto model, and more accurately than to a tenor or keyboard model; (2) Children’s vocal accuracy improves with maturation; (3) Girls do not match pitches more accurately than boys; and (4) The difficulty of tonal patterns when coupled with various pitch models affect pitch-matching accuracy of both sexes of all grade levels.

Capstone Supervisor
Charles E. Furman