(Fairbanks, 1960; Intensity Variability)

November 24, 2020


(also known as Expert Opinion)

NOTE:  To view the summary of the intervention, scroll about one-half 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. 12, Intensity Variability) Voice and articulation drillbook.  New York: Harper & Row.  (pp. 141-143)

Reviewer(s):  pmh

Date:  November 24, 2020

Overall Assigned Grade (because there are no supporting data, there is not a grade)  

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.

Take Away: This chapter of Fairbanks (1960) is concerned with the production of Intensity or Loudness. Fairbanks notes that loudness level and loudness variability (loudness range) comprise intensity. This review, however, is only concerned with intensity variability. 

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

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

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

4.  Did the author provide a rationale for components of the intervention?  Variable

5.  Description of outcome measures:

–  Are outcome measures suggested? Yes

•  Outcome #1:  Pairing loudness level with stressed syllables in multisyllabic words

•  Outcome #2:  Modifying loudness of words in phrases to signal different intents 

•  Outcome #3:  Reading aloud 2 short sentences with the first produced with less intensity than the second

•  Outcome #4:  Reading aloud sentences within paragraphs using the following. Pattern: Louder at the beginning and gradually reducing loudness until the end of the sentence is softer.

6.  Was generalization addressed?  No

7.  Was maintenance addressed?  No


PURPOSE:  To produce speech using appropriate 



ELEMENTS/FUNCTIONS OF PROSODY TARGETED:  loudness/intensity variability

ASPECTS OF PROSODY USED TO TREAT THE TARGET:  loudness, rate, stress, pitch, concordance


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.   


1. The clinician (C) presents a list of multisyllable words (p. 141) to the participant (P) and 

     – directs the P to underline the stressed syllable and

     – say each word with exaggerated intensity on the stressed syllable.

     – The goal is to produce a contrast without underarticulating the unstressed syllable.

2. C presents a list of 2-word phrases (p. 141) containing a single syllable word plus a multisyllable word to the participant (P) and 

     – directs the P to underline the stressed syllable in the multisyllabic word,

     – say each word in the phrase with exaggerated intensity on the stressed syllable but maintaining accurate articulation of the unstressed words/syllable.

     – P then produces the phrase with appropriate stressing and ensuring that the first word blends with the second word.

3. C presents common 2-word phrases (p. 142) that can be used as commands. Each command should be

     – repeated 2 times with 

     – the second production being produced with increased intensity.

4. C presents P with a list of 2-sentence pairs (p. 142) to be read aloud. 

     – C directs P to read the sentence pairs using increased intensity for the second sentence while varying pitch and rate as appropriate.

     – P then reads the sentence pairs with the increased intensity on the second sentence.

     – P and C discuss the different meanings associated with the variations in the readings.

5. C explains to P the common pattern used in speech in which intensity is louder at the beginning of sentences than at the end. C then provides P with a paragraph (pp. 143-143) which P reads aloud producing each sentence using an exaggerated version of the common pattern.

6. P reads aloud the paragraph from the previous step using a different pattern, In this case, P tries to main the initial intensity level throughout each sentence without producing a monotonous.

7. C provides a new paragraph (p. 143) to P. P reviews the paragraph before reading it aloud and develops a plan for appropriately varying intensity as well as rate and pitch.