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Relations between music and speech from the perspectives of dynamics, timbre and pitch

Liu, X; (2016) Relations between music and speech from the perspectives of dynamics, timbre and pitch. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Despite the vast amount of scholarly effort to compare music and speech from a wide range of perspectives, some of the most fundamental aspects of music and speech still remain unexplored. This PhD thesis tackles three aspects essential to the understanding of the relations between music and speech: dynamics, timbre and pitch. In terms of dynamics, previous research has used perception experiments where dynamics is represented by acoustic intensity, with little attention to the fact that dynamics is an important mechanism of motor movements in both music performance and speech production. Therefore, the first study of this thesis compared the dynamics of music and speech using production experiments with a focus on motor movements: finger force in affective piano performance was used as an index of music dynamics and articulatory effort in affective Mandarin speech was used as an index of speech dynamics. The results showed both similarities and differences between the two domains. With regard to timbre, there has been a long-held observation that the timbre of musical instruments mimics human voice, particularly in terms of conveying emotions. However, little research has been done to empirically investigate the emotional connotations of the timbre of isolated sounds of musical instruments in relation to affective human speech. Hence, the second study explored this issue using behavioral and ERP methods. The results largely supported previous observations, although some fundamental differences also existed. In terms of pitch, some studies have mentioned that music could have close relations with speech with regard to pitch prominence and expectation patterns. Nevertheless, the functional differences of pitch in music and speech could also imply that speech does not necessarily follow the same pitch patterns as music in conveying prominence and expectation. So far there is little empirical evidence to either support or refute the aforementioned observations. Hence the third study examined this issue. The results showed the differences outweighed the similarities between music and speech in terms of pitch prominence and expectation. In conclusion, from three perspectives essential to music and speech, this thesis has shed new light on the overlapping yet distinct relations between the two domains.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Relations between music and speech from the perspectives of dynamics, timbre and pitch
Event: University College London (UCL)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1492721
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