In this project, we ask what it is that distinguishes speech from music. Every day, we easily tell the difference between these two types of auditory stimuli, but which acoustic features are important? And what about when speech and music are produced by the same instrument? We are used to distinguishing singing vs. speaking with the human voice, but did you know there are also drums that can “speak”? We asked people both familiar and unfamiliar with the talking drum to classify its performances into speech or music. It turns out even those unfamiliar with the language of the drum could do so above chance. But how? Read our paper to learn more! Also, stay tuned for a series of follow-up studies that are currently in progress.

Nachrichten: When Drums Talk: How We Distinguish Speech from Music

dundun talking drum Photo credit: Cecilia Durojaye