‘Talking Drum’ Proven to Precisely Mimic Speech Patterns of West African Language l Janaseva News


Newswise — Musicians akin to Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton are thought of virtuosos, guitarists who might make their devices sing. Drummers in west Africa who play hourglass-shaped percussion devices referred to as dùndúns could make their instrument not solely sing, however speak. New analysis revealed within the journal Frontiers in Communication is among the first to point out the excessive diploma of acoustic correlation between these speaking drums and the spoken Yorùbá language.

Dùndún drumming is a musical-oral custom the place expert drummers, manipulating the depth and pitch of the instrument, can mimic Yorùbá, a tonal language primarily spoken in southwest Nigeria. Dubbed ‘talking drums’, dùndúns can be utilized as purely musical devices or what scientists seek advice from as speech surrogates, imitating the three tones of the language.

The authors of the brand new paper describe how they analyzed and in contrast 30 spoken and sung verbal snippets with corresponding drum and tune excerpts. They discovered that the dùndún very precisely mimics the microstructural traits of Yorùbá vocalization instantly, whereas the constancy decreases when the drums are used purely for music or much less direct communication akin to tune. The scientists additionally distinguish 4 modes via which the speaking drum connects music and language – rhythm, singing, drum talking-performative and drum talking-direct.

New understandings between music and speech

Equally vital, the acoustical evaluation demonstrates how learning non-western cultures can enrich the best way scientists extra typically perceive the connection between music and speech, in addition to how people course of them, in line with lead creator Dr. Cecilia Durojaye, a researcher and musicologist affiliated with the Division of Psychology at Arizona State College.

“These kinds of multicultural findings are useful for considering deeper relationships and understanding of types of auditory communication and the evolution of language and music,” she stated. “The talking drum is unique in that it has a foot in both language and music camps, and because its existence reminds us of the thin boundary between speech and music.”

Whereas the speaking drum is restricted to the Yorùbá language, speech surrogacy in music happens throughout cultures, so the analysis can contribute to how scientists perceive the phenomenon generally and within the Yorùbá tradition particularly, Durojaye defined.

The research concerned evaluating the timing patterns between recorded drum excerpts and clips of speech and tune from Yorùbá vocal performers {and professional} drummers. The researchers additionally extracted particulars on frequency and depth of the recordings to know the structural commonalities in these totally different types of communication.

Functions of speech surrogacy

“Our finding that verifies distinct drumming modes varying between musical functions and speech surrogacy helps clarify how the talking drum is used in specific functional ways relating to different types of communication,” Durojaye stated.

Speech surrogacy serves a variety of capabilities, from disseminating oral historical past to reciting poetry and proverbs. “Through musical instruments like these drums, one can know the history of a particular culture or a form of knowledge dissemination, as well as aspects of how the people think, their belief systems and values, and what is likely important to them,” she famous.

There may be nonetheless a lot that scientists don’t perceive about how these speech surrogate programs function by way of the formal linguistic properties they include, Durojaye stated. For example, how does every mode seize and encode tone and syllables? Or how is the knowledge transmitted on a syntactic or semantic degree? And what’s the extent of their overlap with musical properties?

“Our study, which focuses on the acoustic properties of spoken, sung and drummed forms, represents one of the first steps towards understanding these various structures,” Durojaye stated. “We continue to explore this unique instrument, which has the potential for enhancing our understanding of music and language processing, especially from a non-western perspective.”


Supply article: https://www.newswise.com/articles/view/755012/?sc=c146


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Teja Sirisipalli

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