HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Essential tones of music rooted in human speech

DURHAM, N.C. -- The use of 12 tone intervals in the music of many human cultures is rooted in the physics of how our vocal anatomy produces speech, according to researchers at the Duke University Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

The particular notes used in music sound right to our ears because of the way our vocal apparatus makes the sounds used in all human languages, said Dale Purves, the George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology.

It's not something one can hear directly, but when the sounds of speech are looked at with a spectrum analyzer, the relationships between the various frequencies that a speaker uses to make vowel sounds correspond neatly with the relationships between notes of the 12-tone chromatic scale of music, Purves said.

The work appeared online May 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Download at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0703140104v1)

Purves and co-authors Deborah Ross and Jonathan Choi tested their idea by recording native English and Mandarin Chinese speakers uttering vowel sounds in both single words and a series of short monologues. They then compared the vocal frequency ratios to the numerical ratios that define notes in music.

Human vocalization begins with the vocal cords in the larynx (the Adams apple in the neck), which create a series of resonant power peaks in a stream of air coming up from the lungs. These power peaks are then modified in a spectacular variety of ways by the changing shape of the soft palate, tongue, lips and other parts of the vocal tract. Our vocal anatomy is rather like an organ pipe that can be pinched, stretched and widened on the fly, Purves said. English speakers generate about 50 different speech sounds this way.

Yet despite the wide variation in individual human anatomy, the speech sounds produced by different speakers and languages produc
'"/>

Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University
24-May-2007


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Essential genes cluster clue to order in the genome
2. Essential genes for embryogenesis uncovered in major mouse mutagenesis project
3. Essential mangrove forest threatened by cryptic ecological degradation
4. Essential oils could help to stamp out MRSA
5. Dinosaurs -- stones did not help with digestion
6. Birdsong sounds sweeter because throats filter out messy overtones
7. Lasers, laureates, competitions infuse symposium to celebrate physics milestones
8. Neurosciences and music meet in Montreal
9. Art and music for the birds
10. Pendulum love, science class gender gaps, musical mind mirrors, and unparticle physics
11. UCLA molecular biologists convert protein sequences into classical music

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/18/2017)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative ... spectrum of clinical research, is proud to announce ... the organization in terms of corporate growth, outside ... and services. The company,s exceptional achievements can be ... iMedNet ™ – MedNet,s ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... PUNE, India , January 12, 2017 A new report ... 2022," projects that the global biometric technology market is expected to generate revenue of ... Continue Reading ... Allied ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140911/647229) ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... Colo. , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic ... the "Digital Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... 2015 to build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem ... on a combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and ... the agreement between the companies, SomaLogic will provide ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... Applied BioMath ( www.appliedbiomath.com ), the ... and development, today announced that Dr. John ... Applied BioMath, will present at the next Boston ... on Thursday January 19, 2017 at the Broad ... Dr. Burke,s talk "Quantitative Modeling and Simulation Approaches: ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Total Orthopedics ... implanted SpineFrontier’s A-CIFT™ Solofuse-P™. The operation took place on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 ... procedure was an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on a 42 year old ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... MYOLYN, ... that it has submitted a 510(k) to the FDA, requesting clearance of the ... functional electrical stimulation (FES) technology. , The submission marks a major milestone ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... BidMed, LLC, announced it will hold a ... lab equipment from two different leading institutes. This highly specialized laboratory equipment is coming ... States. This 1-day online auction will take place on BidMed’s website http://www.bidmed.com ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: