Steven M Demorest, Peter Q Pfordresher, Simone D Bella, Sean Hutchins, Psyche Loui, Joanne Rutkowski, and Graham F Welch (2015)
Methodological perspectives on singing accuracy: an introduction to the special issue on singing accuracy (Part 2)
Music Perception, 32:266-271.
The problem of poor pitch singing has been a topic of both practical and empirical concern for music educators for many years. Earlier efforts focused either on interventions that might help students develop the skills (Joyner, 1969; Yank Porter, 1977) or age-related changes in singing accuracy and proposed models for how such skills might develop (Welch, 1985; 1986). More recently, music educators have explored the influences of training, maturation, and task difficulty on children’s singing accuracy (Demorest & Clements, 2007; Nichols, 2013; Welch et al., 2009) and use of singing voice (Rutkowski & Miller, 2003). Researchers in psychology and cognitive neuroscience have become interested in poor pitch singing in adults as a kind of cognitive deficit, and have begun to explore the various conditions under which people have difficulty singing accurately (Dalla Bella & Berkowska, 2009; Hutchins & Peretz, 2012; Loui, Guenther, Mathys, & Schlaug, 2008; Pfordresher & Brown, 2007). One crucial piece of information lacking in these efforts is a shared definition of what constitutes accurate singing, as well as a shared approach to measuring this skill (see Dalla Bella and Demorest & Pfordresher this volume). While individual studies have proposed various assessments and scoring systems, the lack of a core set of tasks has made it extremely difficult to compare findings across studies, or to develop a sense of how prevalent poor pitch singing is in the general population across the lifespan.