Date of Award


Degree Type



Health Sciences

First Advisor

Cox, Violet

Subject Headings

Voice frequency -- Research, Ethnic groups, Ethnology, Fundamental frequency, voice, ethnographic factors


Normative data compiled by Hixon and Abbs (1980) continue to serve as guidelines for fundamental frequency (F0). These normative data were collected solely from Caucasian participants and may not accurately reflect norms for other ethnicities. According to published literature regarding pitch differences among racial groups, African Americans are believed to have a lower F0 than their Caucasian counterparts.This study investigated differences in F0 between African American and Caucasian young adults. Twenty adults between the ages of 18 and 30 were examined along three vocal parameters: sustained vowel phonation, a speaking task, and a reading task. Three experienced speech-language pathologists and three students without training in voice listened to one second samples of the sustained vowels and made judgments of the speaker's race. Acoustic results revealed no significant differences between the African American and Caucasian male participants. However, F0 values for the sustained vowel task were higher for African American females compared to their Caucasian counterparts while the same trend was not observed in the other two tasks. This suggests that F0 differences across the two races may be task specific rather than racially influenced