The proportional contributions of hereditary and environmental variables to the complex human skill of singing remain uncertain. There are currently few studies using objective measures of singing skill across a variety of tasks that are genetically informative. In order to investigate the relative influences of genetic and environmental factors on singing ability in Australian twins (n = 1189), we delivered a validated online singing instrument to measure performance across three common singing tasks.
Using five performance measures of pitch and interval accuracy, we created a reliable phenotypic index for vocal ability. We discovered that singing skill has a moderate heritability (h2 = 40.7%) and that shared environmental factors have a strikingly similar contribution (c2 = 37.1%).
Early exposure to music and family singing in childhood both significantly influenced the phenotypic score. Together, these results demonstrate that shared environmental and genetic factors have an equal impact on singing ability. Being a person, keeping our emotional health, and preserving our social identity all depend on singing.
When it comes to musical aptitude and ability, there is a wide range, from prodigies to those with congenital amusia. The 10,000 hour rule has been used as the standard justification for how music proficiency is acquired and maintained for many years. The influence of “innate” predispositions on expert development is rejected by this approach.
But according to current research, deliberate practice probably only explains 30% of the variation in expert musicianship, pointing to additional factors (Hambrick et al., 2018; Macnamara et al., 2014). In order to evaluate the distinct and interactive impacts of genes and environment, research has recently turned to investigating the behavioral and molecular genetic origins of music talent.