Vocal and Neural Responses to Unexpected Changes in Voice Pitch Auditory Feedback During Register Transitions

Sona Patel, Anjli Lodhavia, Saul Frankford, Oleg Korzyukov, Charles R. Larson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective/Hypothesis It is known that singers are able to control their voice to maintain a relatively constant vocal quality while transitioning between vocal registers; however, the neural mechanisms underlying this effect are not understood. It was hypothesized that greater attention to the acoustical feedback of the voice and increased control of the vocal musculature during register transitions compared with singing within a register would be represented as neurological differences in event-related potentials. Study Design/Methods Nine singers sang musical notes at the high end of the modal register (the boundary between the modal and the head/falsetto registers) and at the low end (the boundary between the modal and the fry/pulse registers). While singing, the pitch of the voice auditory feedback was unexpectedly shifted either into the adjacent register (“toward” the register boundary) or within the modal register (“away from” the boundary). Singers were instructed to maintain a constant pitch and ignore any changes to their voice feedback. Results Vocal response latencies and magnitude of the accompanying N1 and P2 event-related potentials were greatest at the lower (modal-to-fry) boundary when the pitch shift carried the subjects’ voices into the fry register as opposed to remaining within the modal register. Conclusions These findings suggest that when a singer lowers the pitch of his or her voice such that it enters the fry register from the modal register, there is increased sensory-motor control of the voice, reflected as increased magnitude of the neural potentials to help minimize qualitative changes in the voice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772.e33-772.e40
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • EEG
  • ERPs
  • Pitch shift
  • Register
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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