PLM2009 Workshop session: Where language and music meet in perception and performance

Celebrating 25 years of Lerdahl and Jackendoff's A generative theory of tonal music

A growing body of studies in cognitive and brain sciences has focused on the mechanisms underlying the perception and the performance of music and language. The main idea is that via comparative research on music and language, we can achieve a more coherent picture of human mind than by studying either domain separately. These studies reveal that music and language, in spite of their differences, are more closely related than previously thought. Comparative research provides evidence for overlapping in terms of function and neurological substrates of music and speech prosody, and suggests that language and music might share common neural resources for syntactic processing.

The goal of this interdisciplinary session is to illustrate recent data obtained from research studies examining different aspects of music-language relationships. Data from cognitive neuropsychology, phonology, and music will be presented. Attention will be paid to the effects of music perception and practise on language processing, thus revealing the existence of common processes subserving the two domains. Recent data regarding the positive effect of music on both first and second language acquisition will be reported. Data on the influence of music and singing on the learning of a foreign language as well as data from experimental studies comparing songs to speech will be presented. A phonological theory about the link between speech prosody, verse prosody and text-setting in folk and art songs will also be presented.

Yet there are mechanisms which in all likelihood are not shared by music and language. Recent evidence from a single-case study supporting the existence of domain-specific mechanisms for pitch production will be described.

Selected references

  • Arnold, K., Jusczyk, P. (2002). "Text-to-tune alignment in speech and song". Paper presented at Speech Prosody 2002.
  • Dalla Bella, S., Giguere, J-F., & Peretz, I. (2007). "Singing proficiency in the general population". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 121: 1182-1189.
  • Dell, F. & J. Halle (in press). "Comparing musical text-setting in French and in English songs". In: J.-L. Aroui & A. Arleo (eds), Towards a typology of poetic forms.
  • Fernald, A., Taeschner, T., Dunn. J., Papousek, M., de Boysson-Bardies, B. & Fukus, I. (1989). "A cross-language study of prosodic modifications in mothers' and fathers' speech to preverbal infants". Journal of Child Language 16: 477-501.
  • Fernald, A. (1989). "Intonation and communicative intent in mothers' speech to infants: Is the melody the message?" Child Development 60: 1497-1510.
  • Hayes, B. (in press). "Text-setting as constraint conflict". In: J.-L. Aroui & A. Arleo (eds), Towards a typology of poetic forms.
  • Kennedy, P. (1984 [1975]). Folk songs of Britain and Ireland. London: Oak Publications.
  • Kiparsky, P. (2006). "A modular metrics of folk verse". In: E.B. Dresher & N.Friedberg (eds), Formal approaches to poetry. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 7-52.
  • Pastuszek-Lipińska, B. (2008a). "Musicians outperform non-musicians in speech imitation". In: R. Kronland-Martinet, S. Ystad & K. Jensen (eds), Sense of sounds (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 4969). Berlin: Springer. 56-73.
  • Pastuszek-Lipińska, B. (2008b). "Influence of music education on second language acquisition". Proceedings of the Acoustics 2008 conference. 5123-5128.
  • Patel, A. (2005). "The relationship of music to the melody of speech and to syntactic processing disorders in aphasia". In: G. Avanzini, L. Lopez, S. Koelsch & M. Majno (eds), The neurosciences and music II: From perception to performance. New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1060. 1-12.
  • Patel, A. (2008). Music, language, and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Pfordresher, P.Q. & Brown, S. (2007). "Poor-pitch singing in the absence of tone-deafness". Music Perception 25: 95-115.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, R. (2007a). "How can song help us understand spoken language? Text-setting constraints in English and Spanish". Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics 13: 217-230.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, R. (2007b). "Text-setting constraints revisited: English and Spanish art song". Proceedings of the Fifth Cambridge Postgraduate Conference in Language Research, CILR. 229-236.
  • Schön, D., Boyer, M., Moreno, S., Besson, M., Peretz, I., Kolinsky, R. (2008). "Songs as an aid for language acquisition". Cognition 106(2): 975-83.
  • Trainor, L., Desjardins, R. (2002). "Pitch characteristics of infant-directed speech affect infants' ability to discriminate vowels". Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 9(2): 335-340.

Session organisers

  • Barbara Pastuszek-Lipińska (Adam Mickiewicz University, School of English), email: energin <at>
  • Simone Dalla Bella (University of Finance and Management, Warsaw), email: sdallabella <at>

(In the email addresses above, replace "<at>" with "@".)

Confirmed speakers

  • Rosalía Rodríguez-Vázquez (University of Vigo)
  • Karen Ludke (University of Edinburgh)

Abstract submission procedure

Please follow the general submission guidelines but send your abstract directly to the session organisers.