Vibrato Perception

I was Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded project “The Perception of Vibrato tones in musical context” with Rachel van Besouw, which investigated the perceived pitch of vibrato tones and their range of acceptable tuning.  Our results were published in 2008 in “Music Perception” journal; the Abstract is below and link to a pdf version of the paper is here.

Abstract:   PREVIOUS STUDIES ON VIBRATO PITCH HAVE attempted to determine the “principal pitch” of vibrato tones and not the range of tuning for such ones in a melodic context. This study investigates the range of acceptable tuning (RAT) for tones with and without vibrato, using repeating ascending and descending three-tone arpeggios.
The second tone in each sequence was modulated or unmodulated with an initial pitch that was flat or sharp.With each repetition the pitch of the second tone increased or decreased by 3 cents depending upon the initial pitch condition. Participants indicated when they
perceived the second tone to be in tune and out of tune. The RAT for vibrato tones was approximately 10 cents greater than for unmodulated tones. This is largely due to the lower RAT limit, indicating that the carrier frequency of vibrato tones can be 10 cents flatter than the fundamental frequency of an unmodulated tone.
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