Investigating cochlear implant place-pitch perception with the Modified Melodies test

Brett Swanson*, Pam Dawson, Hugh McDermott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


There has been speculation that cochlear implant place-of-excitation cues could be more akin to the brightness attribute of timbre (the spectral profile) than to melodic pitch. As brightness can be ordered on a low-to-high scale, it would allow high scores on pitch-ranking tests. In contrast, the Modified Melodies test measures pitch perception in a melodic context. In each trial, a familiar melody was presented twice. In one presentation, randomly selected, the pitch was deliberately modified. The subject's task was to select the un-modified melody. Six Nucleus implant recipients were tested with melodies presented as pure tones in the frequency range C5-C6 (523-1046 Hz) through the ACE strategy on the Freedom processor. All subjects were able to identify incorrect melodic contours and three subjects were able to recognize errors in musical intervals. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that cochlear implant place cues alone are sufficient to convey a melody.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-104
Number of pages5
JournalCochlear implants international
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Melody
  • Music perception
  • Pitch perception


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