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Picture of bethree5
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Speech to Song Illusion

Caught this on NPR's Radio Lab show today. Yikes!
 
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Very interesting. The more closely one pays attention to what is actually going on in everyday speech, the more fascinating it becomes.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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It was interesting to me that my husband thought this of little note. As a musician whose strongest suits are rhythm and pitch, he thought it obvious that any blurb of human speech would have intonation, & that making a repeat loop would introduce rhythm-- voila-- music.
 
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I passed it by two musician / composer friends of mine, and they thought it interesting, although one said: " i've heard repeated speech before and haven't noticed it, so it must be this particular recording - yes? i wonder if it is because of the quality of her voice - which is a little singerly to begin with i think - although it's hard to be sure after you've experienced the illusion - and also because the tune is a very recognizable and hummable simple tonal tune, with a regular 4/4 beat."


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I think what surprised me the most was that all 11 subjects (only a couple of whom had any musical training) mimicked her intonation so perfectly that you could play their recoding together and they were singing at precisely the same pitch like a well-trained choir.

There was another interesting bit on the radio interview. To demonstrate some of her research into pitch-based languages, she played a recording of one subject saying the same word over and over-- they were segments clipped out of various spontaneous conversations with various people over a period of weeks. Every time she hit the identical pitch.
 
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