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Prosodic Patterns in the Performance of Grindmill Songs

Abstract : Experimental studies of reading and spontaneous speech analysis have brought into light the role of tonal patterns (an aspect of speech prosody) in conveying rhetoric aspects of verbal communication hitherto overlooked by classical linguistic analysis. Speakers tend to rely on tonal patterns -- basically excursions of the fundamental pitch "F0" -- to make their message "known", "believed", and to instil a subjective dimension into it.It makes sense to hypothesize that similar strategies might be worked out by singers when the focus of their performance is a subjective reinterpretation of textual and symbolic contents of the lyrics. To check this hypothesis, we are in the process of conducting a detailed analysis of Maharashtrian grindmill songs recorded with individual performers. In the absence of a system of codification for tunes and lyrics, these performers feel free to explore melodic (tonal/temporal) structures emphasizing the meaning of words, or conveying additional meanings that the core lyrics did not articulate. The latter is part of an individuation process that would otherwise be difficult to trace in group performance.
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Bernard Bel, Geneviève Caelen-Haumont, Hema Rairkar. Prosodic Patterns in the Performance of Grindmill Songs. International Seminar on Linguistic and Inter-Disciplinary Approaches as Critical Resources to Development, Jul 2000, Mysore, India. ⟨hal-00256387⟩

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