Singing in tone: text-setting constraints in tone languages

  • James Kirby (Organiser)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


A long‐standing question about singing in tone languages is as follows: if pitch is being used to distinguish meaning, how can speakers of tone languages understand lyrics when they are set to music? In other words, how is (linguistic) tone reconciled with (musical) melody? A small but growing body of research is beginning to make clear that this question is an aspect of the more general 'text‐setting' problem of satisfying (potentially conflicting) linguistic and musical constraints. Just as English places formal restrictions on poetic language based on properties such as vowel length and stress, comparable constraints exist in tone languages that govern the ways in which tonal sequences can be married to musical melodies. The goal of this half‐day workshop is to bring together scholars working at the intersection to music and language in order to develop our understanding of these tonal text‐setting constraints. We are pleased to confirm the following invited participants: Stephen Morey (LaTrobe University) John Halle (Bard College) Didier Demolin (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3)
Period12 Aug 2015
Event typeWorkshop
LocationGlasgow, United KingdomShow on map