Monday, October 09, 2006

Words into music: Diana Deutsch and Scott Johnson

Via Crooked Timber comes a link from a program called RadioLab on the research of music psychologist Diana Deutsch on the interrelationship between spoken language and music. The whole program is worth your time, but the first few minutes demonstrate quite elegantly how a looped phrase will seem to acquire its own "melody" such that, when you hear it again in the context of the original, it will still sound "sung."

If you go to the Crooked Timber post, you'll see in the comments the names of composers who have experimented with this idea, Steve Reich being the most prominent. As a sample of this sort of thing, I thought I'd throw in, for your listening pleasure/annoyance (depending on your taste), Scott Johnson's "John Somebody (Part I)".

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Sine.Qua.Non said...

That was beyond annoying... however, I get the point, yet have deleted the download from my iTunes. Ouch.

John B. said...

Well, I didn't claim that everyone would like it. But I do hope you listened to a bit of the program I linked to.

Thanks for stopping by, at any rate.

Camille said...

cool link. I enjoyed the whole thing. I am looking forward to seeing where that research takes Dr Deutsch, and what she finds out about the relationship between perfect pitch and musical genius.