Effect of ethnicity on the age of onset of the male voice change


The purposes of this study were to compare the age of onset of the voice change in African American, White, and Hispanic male students, as well as to describe characteristics of the changing male voice in fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students, using Cooksey's maturation stages. Participants included volunteers from two urban elementary schools, five suburban elementary schools, one suburban middle school, and one urban middle school (African American n = 62, White n = 58, and Hispanic n = 77). Participants were recorded individually performing three ascending and three descending glissandi on an "ah" syllable. Results indicated that approximately 46% of fourth-grade participants, 62% of fifth-grade participants, and 67% of sixth-grade participants were classified as having changing voices. Results of a one-way, between-subjects ANOVA revealed no significant main effect for ethnicity, although a larger percentage of African American participants' voices were classified as changing voices as compared with those of Hispanic and White participants. The overall mean age of onset for participants in this study was approximately 11.20 years of age. © 2010 MENC: The National Association for Music Education.

Publication Title

Journal of Research in Music Education