Peter Q Pfordresher and James T Mantell (2009)
Singing as a Form of Vocal Imitation: Mechanisms and Deficits
Proceedings of the 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music:425-430.
There has been a recent upsurge of interest in the neural and cognitive bases of inaccurate singing, commonly referred to as “tone deafness.” Explanations of this deficit have commonly focused on perceptual and motor functions. It is clear, however, that neither of these mechanisms can fully account for deficits in singing. We summarize the results of several studies concerning inaccurate, or “poor pitch” singing. Taken together, the results of these studies argue that the basis for singing-related deficits lies in the link between perception and action, rather than strictly motoric or perceptual factors. Moreover, singing deficits may involve general purpose vocal imitation mechanisms, rather than mechanisms that are specific to music.