Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sound of music related to sounds of speech

It seems when people say happy or sad things (in English), spectrograms of the speech can be sorted like spectrograms of happy or sad music (classical music or folk songs). Happy talk uses happy-music intervals, and sad talk uses sad-music intervals. We also create music that fits our vowels, which are the sounds air makes as it flows through our oral cavity.

It's not surprising, though it is interesting, that the music we choose to support over the years should reflect the sounds we make with our throats. I imagine that speech came first, though I have no good reason to justify that.

Nor is it surprising that, if music is related to speech, the kinds of sounds we make when happy or sad should be the ones our musicians use to create happy or sad tunes. Or maybe they just create randomly, and it is we who impose our happy or sad template. No, they know what they're writing.

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