Fairbanks (1960, Ch 11, Infections/Shifts)


(also known as Expert Opinion)

NOTE:  To view the summary of the intervention, scroll about two-thirds of the way down this post.


C =  clinician

NA = not applicable

P =  patient or participant

pmh =  Patricia Hargrove, blog developer

SLP = speech-language pathologist


Source:  Fairbanks, G. (1960, Ch. 11, Inflections and Shifts)  Voice and articulation drillbook.  New York: Harper & Row.  (pp. 132-134)


Reviewer(s):  pmh


Date:  March 3, 2020


Overall Assigned Grade (because there are no supporting data, there is not a grade)  The Assigned Overall Grade reflects the quality of the evidence supporting the intervention and does not represent a judgment regarding the quality of the intervention.


Level of Evidence:  F = Expert Opinion, no supporting evidence for the effectiveness of the intervention although the author may provide secondary evidence supporting components of the intervention. Several strategies for treating pitch variability are presented in this part of Chapter 11.


Take Away:  This chapter of Fairbanks (1960) is concerned with the production of Pitch. Fairbanks notes that pitch level, pitch variability (pitch range), and inflection (pitch modulation within an utterance) and shifts (pitch modulation from the end of a phonation to the beginning of the next phonation) comprise pitch. This post, however, is only concerned with Inflections and Shifts.


  1. Was there a review of the literature supporting components of the intervention? No


  1. Were the specific procedures/components of the intervention tied to the reviewed literature? Not Applicable (NA)


  1. Was the intervention based on clinically sound clinical procedures? Yes


  1. Did the author(s) provide a rationale for components of the intervention? Variable


  1. Description of outcome measures:

–  Are outcome measures suggested? Yes

  • Outcome #1: Producing speech with a variety of pitch inflections
  • Outcome #2: Producing speech with a variety of pitch shifts


  1. Was generalization addressed? No


  1. Was maintenance addressed? No




PURPOSE:  To produce speech using appropriate pitch inflection and pitch shifts






ELEMENTS/FUNCTIONS OF PROSODY TARGETED:  pitch inflections and pitch shifts (onset), pitch direction, pitch range (extent), pitch slope (duration of pitch), affective prosody




ADMINISTRATOR:  The book is written so that a lay person could use it as a self-help book. Historically, I know of many speech-language pathologists who have used the techniques and the materials in their therapy sessions.




  • Fairbanks (1960, Ch 11, Inflections and Shifts) defines several terms used in this section of the chapter.


Step 1:  P reads the words from wordlist the (paired with recommended intentions/meaning) on page132 with the designated inflections (rising or falling). C recommends that the inflections be exaggerated.


Step 2:  P revises the intentions/meanings associated with each of the words on the wordlist from Step 1 so that pitch directions are in the opposite direction. P then attempts to read aloud the new wordlist with the new recommended inflections.


Step 3: C presents a new word list with new words (from #3, Fairbanks, 1960, (p. 132-133). P writes phrases for a meaning that would be associated with a falling (downward) inflection for each word and then assigns meanings that would be associated with a rising (upward) inflection for the same single words. P speaks the words, exaggerating the inflection.


Step 4:  Using the words from Step 3, P explores different meaning associated with rising or falling pitch directions (inflections) that occur when a speaker varies pitch range. That is, P determines the different meanings of words associated with a falling (or rising) pitch direction associated with a narrow, average, or wide range of pitches. P speaks the words, exaggerating the inflection.


Step 5:  C explains that the slope of the pitch change/modulation (rate/duration of the change in inflection) can change the meaning of a single word message. P produces each word from Step 3 using a wide falling inflection

  • with wide slope (slow rate of inflectional change),
  • then with a narrow slope (fast rate of inflectional change.)

C and P discuss the different meanings.


Step 6:  C and P repeat Step 5 using a wide rising (upward) inflection.


Step 7:  P reads each word from Step 3, attempting to convey the following emotions:

  • uncertainty,
  • confidence,
  • impatience, and
  • boredom.


Step 8:  C presents a list of 2-word sentences to P (Fairbanks, 1960, p. 133, #8). For each sentence, C directs P to

  • read aloud the first word,
  • pause briefly, and
  • produce a wide rising pitch change (shift) at the beginning of the second word.


Step 9:  C and P repeat Step 8 using a wide falling pitch change at the beginning of the second word.


Step 10:  C presents a list of sentences (Fairbanks, 1960, p. 133-134, #10) with symbols indicating a pause and rising (upward) shift, falling (downward), or no shift following a pause within a sentence. P reads aloud the sentence, exaggerating the shifts.


Step 11:  C presents a list of sentences (Fairbanks, 1960, p. 134, #11) with a symbol indicating a pause but a blank space for directions indicating rising (upward) shift, falling (downward), or no shift following a pause within a sentence. P reads aloud the sentences and adds different shifts that are appropriate to the meaning. P then marks a preferred shift and reads aloud the sentences, exaggerating the shift.

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