9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Text, Rhythm and Metrical Form in an Aboriginal Song Series

Myfany Turpin

University of Queensland, Australia

Setting words to (musical) rhythm is an attempt to match rhythmic positions and syllables in an aesthetically appealing manner. In English songs acceptability is based on two separate but interactive judgments: matching stress with metrically strong positions, and matching prosodic constituents with rhythmic constituents [1]. This paper investigates a genre of Aboriginal songs and finds that while prosodic and rhythmic constituents match, there is no requirement to match stress. Instead, the placement of syllables is conditioned by a caesura (word boundary rule) and a hierarchy whereby rhythmical units with fewer notes must not precede ones with more.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Turpin, Myfany (2008): "Text, rhythm and metrical form in an Aboriginal song series", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 96-98.