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Effects of the Menstrual Cycle and Oral Contraception on Singers' Pitch Control
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Speech, Music and Hearing, TMH, Music Acoustics.
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, ISSN 1092-4388, E-ISSN 1558-9102, Vol. 55, no 1, 247-261 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Difficulties with intonation and vibrato control during the menstrual cycle have been reported by singers; however, this phenomenon has not yet been systematically investigated. Method: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial assessing effects of the menstrual cycle and use of a combined oral contraceptive pill (OCP) on pitch control in singing is presented. Audio-electrolaryngograph recordings were made and blood samples were taken from 9 singers in each of the 3 phases of the menstrual cycle both under the placebo and the OCP conditions for a total of 6 months. Participants sang an exercise consisting of an ascending octave followed by a descending major triad, starting on pitches F4 and B4. Pitch control was assessed in terms of the octave's deviations from pure intonation and of the vibrato rate and extent. Results: Significant differences were found between the 3 phases of the cycle regarding octave size only for pitch F5 during OCP use. Significant vibrato rate differences between placebo and OCP conditions were found only for pitch F5. Conclusion: OCP use may have an effect on pitch control in singers. Possible explanations point to a complex interaction between hormonal milieu and pitch control, enhancing the need for longitudinal studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 55, no 1, 247-261 p.
Keyword [en]
intonation, vibrato rate, vibrato extent, menstrual cycle, oral contraceptive pill
National Category
Computer Systems Language Technology (Computational Linguistics)
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-92351DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0348)ISI: 000301117200019ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84857381749OAI: diva2:516342
QC 20120418Available from: 2012-04-18 Created: 2012-04-02 Last updated: 2012-04-18Bibliographically approved

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Sundberg, Johan
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