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postgraduate thesis: Singing the right tones of the words: the principles and poetics of tone-melody mapping in Cantopop

TitleSinging the right tones of the words: the principles and poetics of tone-melody mapping in Cantopop
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chow, M. [周敏盈]. (2012). Singing the right tones of the words : the principles and poetics of tone-melody mapping in Cantopop. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4807993
Abstract In tone languages, tones, in addition to phonemes, are used to differentiate meanings. The tone of a word changes its meaning. This gives rise to a question regarding vocal music in such languages: does the melodic contour have to depend upon the lexical tones of the text so as to enhance the understanding of the text? This question has motivated a number of studies to examine the relationship between lexical tones and melody in different vocal genres of different tone languages. Yet a satisfactory answer is still missing. While existing studies reveal that the degree of conformity between speech tone and melody varies according to the genre as well as the language, some genres of Cantonese vocal music, such as Cantonese opera and Canto-pop, show a strikingly higher degree of tone-melody correspondence. Taking Canto-pop as the focus, the present study seeks to investigate the principles of tone-melody mapping—the underlying rules which govern the realization and perception of Cantonese speech tones in sung melody. It also seeks to gain a deeper understanding about how the constraints of speech tones affect the text-music interaction and why the preservation of speech tones is particularly prominent in this genre. Drawing insights from musicology, linguistics and psychology, the thesis presents an interdisciplinary research that casts new light on the subject of tone-melody relationship—the relationship between speech tones and sung melody in vocal music. It is found that the correspondence between musical intervals and tonal transitions in Cantonese speech can be crucial to tone perception in sung melody. But there are also occasions where the speech tones are still perceived correctly despite the occurrences of physical tone-melody mismatch, largely on account of the tonal, melodic, syntactic and semantic context. While a misperception of the speech tones may not always necessarily lead to a miscomprehension of the lyrics, it is still an aesthetic requirement for Cantopop to maintain perfect tone-melody mapping. This requirement even has an influence on the creative process of Cantopop.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectPopular music - China - Hong Kong.
Cantonese dialects - Tone.
Melody.
Dept/ProgramMusic

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorChan, HY-
dc.contributor.advisorMatthews, SJ-
dc.contributor.authorChow, Man-ying.-
dc.contributor.author周敏盈.-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationChow, M. [周敏盈]. (2012). Singing the right tones of the words : the principles and poetics of tone-melody mapping in Cantopop. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4807993-
dc.description.abstract In tone languages, tones, in addition to phonemes, are used to differentiate meanings. The tone of a word changes its meaning. This gives rise to a question regarding vocal music in such languages: does the melodic contour have to depend upon the lexical tones of the text so as to enhance the understanding of the text? This question has motivated a number of studies to examine the relationship between lexical tones and melody in different vocal genres of different tone languages. Yet a satisfactory answer is still missing. While existing studies reveal that the degree of conformity between speech tone and melody varies according to the genre as well as the language, some genres of Cantonese vocal music, such as Cantonese opera and Canto-pop, show a strikingly higher degree of tone-melody correspondence. Taking Canto-pop as the focus, the present study seeks to investigate the principles of tone-melody mapping—the underlying rules which govern the realization and perception of Cantonese speech tones in sung melody. It also seeks to gain a deeper understanding about how the constraints of speech tones affect the text-music interaction and why the preservation of speech tones is particularly prominent in this genre. Drawing insights from musicology, linguistics and psychology, the thesis presents an interdisciplinary research that casts new light on the subject of tone-melody relationship—the relationship between speech tones and sung melody in vocal music. It is found that the correspondence between musical intervals and tonal transitions in Cantonese speech can be crucial to tone perception in sung melody. But there are also occasions where the speech tones are still perceived correctly despite the occurrences of physical tone-melody mismatch, largely on account of the tonal, melodic, syntactic and semantic context. While a misperception of the speech tones may not always necessarily lead to a miscomprehension of the lyrics, it is still an aesthetic requirement for Cantopop to maintain perfect tone-melody mapping. This requirement even has an influence on the creative process of Cantopop.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B48079935-
dc.subject.lcshPopular music - China - Hong Kong.-
dc.subject.lcshCantonese dialects - Tone.-
dc.subject.lcshMelody.-
dc.titleSinging the right tones of the words: the principles and poetics of tone-melody mapping in Cantopop-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4807993-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineMusic-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4807993-
dc.date.hkucongregation2012-

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