Vocal vibrato and tremor are characterized by oscillations in voice fundamental frequency (F0). These oscillations may be sustained by a control loop within the auditory system. One component of the control loop is the pitch-shift reflex (PSR). The PSR is a closed loop negative feedback reflex that is triggered in response to discrepancies between intended and perceived pitch with a latency of ∼ 100 ms. Consecutive compensatory reflexive responses lead to oscillations in pitch every ∼200 ms, resulting in ∼5-Hz modulation of F0. Pitch-shift reflexes were elicited experimentally in six subjects while they sustained /u/vowels at a comfortable pitch and loudness. Auditory feedback was sinusoidally modulated at discrete integer frequencies (1 to 10 Hz) with ±25 cents amplitude. Modulated auditory feedback induced oscillations in voice F0 output of all subjects at rates consistent with vocal vibrato and tremor. Transfer functions revealed peak gains at 4 to 7 Hz in all subjects, with an average peak gain at 5 Hz. These gains occurred in the modulation frequency region where the voice output and auditory feedback signals were in phase. A control loop in the auditory system may sustain vocal vibrato and tremorlike oscillations in voice F0.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics