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Re: Music-conlangs & music

From:James W. <emindahken@...>
Date:Thursday, July 6, 2006, 13:23
On Thu, 6 Jul 2006 13:43:39 +0200, "Henrik Theiling"
<theiling@...> said:
> > Hmm, feasible, yes, I think so. Even if tones alone were used for > encoding, I'd expect quite a few notes to be needed to make an > utterance. In a seven phoneme tone-only language, I'd be confident > that the ambiguities would be seldom. > > If it was a 'normal' tone-language that also has spoken words, you > could mark subject, object and verb with different tones, thereby > ensuring that you'd have at least the distinction minor vs. major even > for subject + verb with only one syllable, i.e., two tones. With an > object, you could have the other distinctions, too, if you don't have > too many modes.
The key (pardon the pun) here is that the language also has a spoken component. This would allow this system to work, I think.
> I think it is worth a try, the idea is funny. :-) > > E.g.: > > Tone: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > Lydian: C D E F# G A B -- used for imperatives > Mixolydian: C D E F G A Bb -- used for indicative > Dorian: C D Eb F G A Bb -- used for subjunctive > Phrygian: C Db Eb F G Ab Bb -- used for questions > > (C is just an example, the tones are not absolute notes, but the scale > may start for anything comfortable with the speaker.)
This could prove to be ambiguous. What would be necessary, I think is for the person to *always* use the same base pitch. Otherwise the closeness of the modes could be a problem. For example: If the person started a Dorian clause on C, but then did a Lydian clause on Eb, the pitches involved would be exactly the same. (C Dorian = Eb Lydian as far as pitches go.)
> So Lydian and Mixolydian are Major and distinguished by two tones, and > Dorian and Phrygian are Minor and also distinguished by two tones. > (The distance between Mixolydian and Dorian is only one tone, but I > like Dorian and Phrygian very much, therefore I selected those. The > choice is quite arbitrary, of cause.) > > Let basic word order be free (for now), constituents marked by tone.
I think for this to work there would need to be a fixed word order, preferably verb initial, since that gives you the base tone for the modes. [snip examples]
> What do you think of such a system?
It could work, especially with a spoken component. Fun idea! -------- James W.


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>