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A new method for analyzing and representing singing


Stadler Elmer, Stefanie; Elmer, F J (2000). A new method for analyzing and representing singing. Psychology of Music, 28(1):23-42.

Abstract

In psychological and cross-cultural (e.g. ethnomusicological) research the analysis of songsinging had always been an intricate and serious obstacle. Singing is a transient and mostly unstable patterning of vocal sounds that is organized by applying more or less linguistic and musical rules. Traditionally, a sung performance has been analyzed by mere listening and by using the western musical notation for representing its structure. Since this method neglects any in-between categories with respect to pitch and time, it proves to be culturally biased. However, acoustic measures as used in speech analysis have had limited application and were primarily used to quantify isolated parameters of sung erformances. For analyzing and representing the organization of pitch in relation to the syllables of the lyrics, and its temporal structure, we devised a computer aided method in combination with a new symbolic representation. The computer programm provides detailed acoustic measures on pitch and time. We reduce the redundancy of the detailed information by a notation system that shows pitch and time each on a continuous scale, including glissandi, breathing, joint singing, and instructional help. By combining acoustic with auditory analyses, this method allows to describe reliably sung performance's structures with respect to the organization of pitches, together with syllables, and their timing. The resulting configuration of data includes qualitative aspects such as stable and unstable pitches. Such microanalytic descriptions are very useful for studying the nature of sung performances, their structures, and processes of change due to learning and development.

Abstract

In psychological and cross-cultural (e.g. ethnomusicological) research the analysis of songsinging had always been an intricate and serious obstacle. Singing is a transient and mostly unstable patterning of vocal sounds that is organized by applying more or less linguistic and musical rules. Traditionally, a sung performance has been analyzed by mere listening and by using the western musical notation for representing its structure. Since this method neglects any in-between categories with respect to pitch and time, it proves to be culturally biased. However, acoustic measures as used in speech analysis have had limited application and were primarily used to quantify isolated parameters of sung erformances. For analyzing and representing the organization of pitch in relation to the syllables of the lyrics, and its temporal structure, we devised a computer aided method in combination with a new symbolic representation. The computer programm provides detailed acoustic measures on pitch and time. We reduce the redundancy of the detailed information by a notation system that shows pitch and time each on a continuous scale, including glissandi, breathing, joint singing, and instructional help. By combining acoustic with auditory analyses, this method allows to describe reliably sung performance's structures with respect to the organization of pitches, together with syllables, and their timing. The resulting configuration of data includes qualitative aspects such as stable and unstable pitches. Such microanalytic descriptions are very useful for studying the nature of sung performances, their structures, and processes of change due to learning and development.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2000
Deposited On:09 Apr 2014 16:40
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 05:13
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0305-7356

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