Contributions of modal and creaky voice to the perception of habitual pitch

Lisa Davidson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In some languages, creaky voice is used over relatively long stretches of speech as a prosodic element, to convey emotion, and/or stylistically. A primary acoustic and perceptual cue to creaky voice quality is a low fundamental frequency. Previous research has shown that listeners can make fine-grained comparisons of speakers’ habitual modal pitch, but this study focuses on how a combination of modal and nonmodal phonation affects the perception of habitual pitch. A perception experiment assesses whether listeners are more likely to rate a speaker’s utterance as being holistically lower in pitch if it contains both modal and creaky voice than if it is fully modal speech. Results indicate that for female American English speakers with higher modal pitch, the inclusion of creaky voice leads listeners to rate such utterances as lower in pitch than fully modal utterances, but not for speakers with lower modal pitch. These results are consistent with studies showing that pitch perception interacts with nonmodal phonation, and they relate to previous observations that speakers may utilize nonmodal phonation to manipulate their intended habitual pitch.*.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)e22-e37
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2020


    • American English
    • Creaky voice
    • Nonmodal phonation
    • Perception
    • Phrasal creak
    • Pitch

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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