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Re: "Old Starrish"

From:Rachel Klippenstein <estel_telcontar@...>
Date:Monday, February 10, 2003, 20:38
 --- Fredrik Ekman <ekman@...> wrote: >
[R]achel Klippenstein wrote:
> > > Also, each of the 12 vowels in this language was > associated with one of > > the twelve notes of the musical scale, so > everything said in it > > automatically had a tune associated with it, and > although it was not > > sung in everyday speech, any speaker would be able > to convert a spoken > > sentence into its sung version. > > A very interesting notion! I can immediately see > several fascinating > implications of this. > > First I must ask: What about the speakers of your > language? Who are they? > Do they have the same kinds of brains and vocal > organs that we do? The > question is important since music, even though it is > basically just > mathematical representations of wave lengths, is > still very much a > cultural subject, and how that culture manifests > itself is of course very > much a subject to the physionomy of its members.
The speakers of this language are essentially human phisically and mentally, very similar to us, though it is possible that they all have perfect pitch, unlike us. (I have read somewhere, though, that as study was done which found that the majority of speakers of a certain tonal language - Vietnamese, I think - had perfect pitch.)
> By the way, what is your own musical background?
I have played violin for about 12 years, played in community orchestras and sung in a good childrens choir until I entered busy university life. My music theory is not bad, but terribly advanced, though. I know what different chords and scales etc. are, but I don't know any of the principles for combining them.
> One interesting question is whether your scale is > absolute or relative. In > other words, does a given vowel always map to the > exact same wave-length, > or is it decided by the context (ie can the same > message be conveyed in a > different key)? How are octaves handled? What about > "speakers" who have > different vocal pitch (women/men/children)?
I was thinking that each vowel would be associated to a specific note-name (in our system), like C or B-flat, and that people with different voice-ranges would use a note with that name that was comfortable to their voice range. I toyed around with the idea of a relative scale, and decided that the problem with it would be that different vowel sequences that represented the same intervals could then correspond to exactly the same tone sequences, if the speakers decided to start them on the same note.
> To me, the most difficult obstacle would seem to be > to accomplish a > language that is at the same time not too limited in > its range of possible > expressions, while still producing reasonably > melodious "words". How, for > instance, would you avoid tritones and other > difficult intervals?
So, this is one of the issues that makes the specifics of the vowel system a daunting task, so that I am probably going to work out the specifics of the consonant system out before tackling the vowel system. I have a few ideas, but they need a lots of work. Maybe you could help me with one thing: I don't know specifically which intervals are awkward, and I don't know how one would look it up. Also, what is a tritone? (Oh, probably an interval of three whole tones, right?) Rachel Klippenstein ______________________________________________________________________ Post your free ad now!


Garth Wallace <gwalla@...>
Fredrik Ekman <ekman@...>