The perception of melodic intervals (sequential pitch differences) is essential to music perception. This study tested melodic interval perception in normal-hearing (NH) listeners and cochlear implant (CI) users. Melodic interval ranking was tested using an adaptive procedure. CI users had slightly higher interval ranking thresholds than NH listeners. Both groups' interval ranking thresholds, although not affected by root note, significantly increased with standard interval size and were higher for descending intervals than for ascending intervals. The pitch direction effect may be due to a procedural artifact or a difference in central processing. In another test, familiar melodies were played with all the intervals scaled by a single factor. Subjects rated how in tune the melodies were and adjusted the scaling factor until the melodies sounded the most in tune. CI users had lower final interval ratings and less change in interval rating as a function of scaling factor than NH listeners. For CI users, the root-mean-square error of the final scaling factors and the width of the interval rating function were significantly correlated with the average ranking threshold for ascending rather than descending intervals, suggesting that CI users may have focused on ascending intervals when rating and adjusting the melodies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics