Congenitally deaf children (5–10 years) who use cochlear implants and hearing children of comparable age sang songs from memory. Analyses of their performances revealed timing similarities in the songs of deaf and hearing children but substantial differences in pitch patterning. Whereas hearing children accurately reproduced the relative pitch patterns of the songs they sang, deaf children did not. Deaf children’s pitch range was considerably smaller than that of hearing children, and their pitch changes were unrelated to the direction of pitch change in the target songs. For child implant users, the power and pleasure of music may arise primarily from its rhythm.
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