The body and sung melodies II - Singers' facial movements and listeners' interval perception

Tejaswinee Kelkar

In this talk I will be presenting research from our newest Nature article about how facial expressions of singers can alter interval perception amongst listeners. We surmise that perceptual integrative effects should involve music deeply, since there is ample indeterminacy and variability in its auditory signals. We show that switching videos of sung musical intervals changes systematically the estimated distance between two notes of a musical interval so that pairing the video of a smaller sung interval to a relatively larger auditory led to compression effects on rated intervals, whereas the reverse led to a stretching effect. In addition, after seeing a visually switched video of an equally-tempered sung interval and then hearing the same interval played on the piano, the two intervals were judged often different though they differed only in instrument. These findings reveal spontaneous, cross-modal, integration of vocal sounds and clearly indicate that strong integration of sound and sight can occur beyond the articulations of natural speech.