Tone-melody correspondence in Vietnamese popular song

James Kirby, Robert Ladd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

We examine the degree of correspondence between musical and linguistic tonal sequences in a corpus of 20 Vietnamese popular songs. Our data suggest that text-setting constraints in Vietnamese, as in other Asian tone languages that have been studied, are based primarily on the direction of the pitch transition from one syllable/note to the next. Borrowing musical terminology, ‘parallel motion’ is favoured,‘oblique motion’ is allowed in certain cases, and ‘contrary motion’ is disfavoured. As with other Asian tone languages, the definition of these three types of motion depends on the categorisation of the linguistic tones; our current best model suggests a rate of parallel motion at 77%. We hypothesize that avoidance of contrary motion may be as or more important than achieving parallelism between tonal and melodic transitions in Vietnamese popular song.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 5th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages
PublisherTAL 2016
Number of pages51
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
EventThe 5th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages - , United Kingdom
Duration: 24 May 201627 May 2016


ConferenceThe 5th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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