Absolute pitch and tempo in mothers' songs to infants

Tonya R. Bergeson, Sandra E. Trehub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

87 Scopus citations


We examined the relative stability of pitch, tempo, and rhythm in maternal speech and singing to prelinguistic infants. Mothers were recorded speaking and singing to their infants on two occasions separated by I week or more. The pitch level and tempo of identical utterances were highly variable across the I-week period, but these features were virtually unchanged in song repetitions. Rhythmic patterning was largely maintained in speech, as in song. Mothers' accurate reproduction of their sung performances can be considered a form of absolute pitch and absolute tempo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-75
Number of pages4
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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