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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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List of Contributors


Andy Arleo is a Professor of English at the Faculté des Langues et Cultures Etrangères of the Université de Nantes and a member of the Centre de Recherche sur les Identités Nationales et l’Interculturalité. His research involves the comparative study of children’s folklore; the metrics of children’s rhymes; the relationship between music and language; the study of American folk and popular music; and the use of music, song and folklore in foreign language teaching. He is the co-editor, with Jean-Louis Aroui of Towards a Typology of Poetic Forms: from linguistic structure to metrics and beyond (John Benjamins, 2009) and, with Julie Delalande, of Cultures enfantines: universalité et diversité (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2010).

Paolo Bravi Currently a contract professor of “Anthropology of music” and “Mediterranean musical cultures” at the School of Ethnomusicology of the Conservatorio di Musica “Palestrina” in Cagliari (IT), Paolo Bravi has two PhD.s in “Methodologies of Anthropological Research” (University of Siena, 2008) and in “Theories and History of Languages” (University of Sassari, 2013). His research focuses on the formal features and cultural values of singing and spoken voices in oral traditions and adopts models, techniques and research methods from both ethnomusicology and phonetics. In this field he has published more than thirty contributions (parts of collective volumes, conference proceedings, journals etc.) and the monography A sa moda campidanesa. Pratiche, poetiche e voci degli improvvisatori nella Sardegna meridionale (Nuoro: ISRE, 2010).

Varuṇ deCastro-Arrazola has a background in Ethnomusicology and in...

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