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Text and Tune

On the Association of Music and Lyrics in Sung Verse


Teresa Proto, Paolo Canettieri and Gianluca Valenti

This book offers an overview of issues related to the regulated, formal organization of sound and speech in verse intended for singing. Particularly, it is concerned with the structural properties and underlying mechanisms involved in the association of lyrics and music. While in spoken verse the underlying metrical scheme is grounded in the prosody of the language in which it is composed, in sung verse the structure is created by the mapping of specific prosodic units of the text (syllables, moras, tones, etc.) onto the rhythmic-melodic structure provided by the tune. Studying how this mapping procedure takes place across different musical genres and styles is valuable for what it can add to our knowledge of language and music in general, and also for what it can teach us about individual languages and poetic traditions. In terms of empirical coverage, the collection includes a wide variety of (Western) languages and metrical/musical forms, ranging from the Latin hexameter to the Norwegian stev, from the French chant courtois to the Sardinian mutetu longu. Readers interested in formal analyses of vocal music, or in metrics and linguistics, will find useful insights here.
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Norwegian gamalstev: A millennium of sung verse



Norwegian gamalstev:A millennium of sung verse


Gamalstev is the most original form of Norwegian folk music and poetry. It has been in oral tradition until the present day. Via phonograph recordings we can hear this type of sung verse passed down to us in a single link now spanning 230 years.

The structure of gamalstev is almost identical to that of Old Norse verse in the metre ljóðaháttr, used e.g. in Hávamál, a collection of words of wisdom of the ‘High One’, i.e. Odin (Wotan), and in Lókasenna, a quarrel in verse between Lóki and the other Norse gods. This ‘Poetic Edda’ was written down on parchment in Iceland in the 13th century, but is thought to stem from Norway at least as early as the 9th century through oral tradition among the settlers.

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