Motor representations and the effects of auditory feedback disruption on singing remembered tunes
People act on efferent knowledge of how to get a motor job done, and incorporate afferent feedback to fine tune their performance. The main purpose of this study is to access the role played by the auditory and motor systems in the skillful control of singing for trained-singers, instrumentalists and people with little or no musical training. In particular, the study investigates how effectively people can sing simple familiar tunes based on their ‘motor’ knowledge, under conditions when auditory feedback is masked and not available. Trained-singers, instrumentalists and non-musicians sang Happy Birthday repeatedly under two different normal feedback and two different masking conditions. The four conditions resulted from crossing two variables: singing from memory vs. singing along with the song; and singing with normal feedback vs. singing without with an auditory mask (Babble-Mask and Song-Mask). Performances were scored according to relative & absolute pitch, tempo and rhythmic accuracy; implications with respect to the nature of memory representations for musical pitch and time were discussed.