First Advisor

John Tetnowski

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Musical ability, Stuttering



Physical Description

1 online resource (44 p.)


Rhythm is a feature of both music and speech that has been successfully used in the treatment of speech disorders, particularly stuttering, for many years. The successful use of rhythm in the treatment of dysf luencies of speech may be due to stutterers' perceptual deficiencies in music and rhythm abilities. Research supports the view that there are differences between stutterers and nonstutterers in timing and rhythmic capabilities. This study, therefore, sought to determine whether there was a difference between the perceptual musical abilities of stutterers versus nonstutterers as measured by the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents, Revised (1960). Data collected were from two groups of subjects consisting of 10 stutterers and 10 nonstutterers. Groups were matched according to age and gender. Subjects were examined using the Seashore, a test which measures levels of musical ability in the areas of pitch, time, timbre, rhythm, tonal memory and loudness. Subjects listened to recorded tones on a cassette tape player while marking their answers on IBM answer sheets. For example, in the pitch test, fifty pairs of tones on a cassette tape were presented. The subject determined whether the second tone presented was higher (H) or lower (L) than the first. A mark was made in either the column headed H or L. Each subtest proceeded in a similar manner. A total score of level of musical function was then determined from the scores of each subtest. Total scores and individual subtest scores were compared using the Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test for Paired Observations (.05 level of significance) to determine whether there were overall differences between groups or differences between groups in specific areas. Results show stutterers scoring significantly lower in the rhythm subtest (P=.0077) and in total scores (P=.0244). Other significant differences were not found. These results might suggest that further support should be given to the study of actual treatment(s) using rhythmic concepts. Since no studies exist that investigate the theory that stutterers have perceptual rhythmic/timing deficiencies, studies such as this would provide normative data on musical abilities of stutterers, with emphasis on rhythm and timing abilities.


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