Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Diff. btw singing and talking

  1. Jul 17, 2007 #1
    Technically and philosophically speaking, where do we really draw a line weather a person is singing or talking?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2007 #2
    a tune will b there in singing but in talking those r just words
     
  4. Jul 18, 2007 #3

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Is there a lack of "melody" in speech? Not completely. As people speak, pitch rises and falls. Diana Deutsch researches auditory perception and illusions, and she has an interesting example of a piece of a sentence, that when looped, seems very much like it is being "sung".

    http://philomel.com/phantom_words/description.html#sometimes

    You can play the audio clip on the website link. It really does sound like singing (to me, anyway), even more so after a few repetitions.
     
  5. Jul 18, 2007 #4

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Both singing and speech do use pitch but they put it toward different goals.

    In speech, the pitch is used to impart structure to the meaning of the content. Try saying a complex phrase with no inflection. This is easily demonstrated if you read out of a book or newspaper to a friend. Without the correct inflection, the sentences (if they're complex enough) may run together and meaning can be completely lost.

    In song, the pitch is used more or less independent of the meaning of the words, concentrating instead on the melody. The key here is that it would still sound just as nice if the words weren't there - i.e. hummed.


    As an aside, I find myself unique among everyone I know in that, to me, lyrics of a song are irrelevant. I hear the vocals of a song as if they are a musical instrument (albeit a very complex one);

    I am almost unable to understand the meaning of a song's words unless I take some time to extract and dispose of the melodic component, hearing the words as speech.

    My current thoery is that my left and right brains communicate poorly when listening to music. I can listen with either my left (speech) brain, or my right (music) brain - but not both.
     
  6. Jul 19, 2007 #5
    You could probably also say that singing uses specific sound frequencies, along with tempo, depending on the scale used (many non-Western musical scales have other than half/whole steps), whereas talking does not have specific pitch frequency and/or tempo. However, this creates a grey area. Some people would certainly consider rap and other forms of spoken word recordings (Henry Rollins, etc.) as music.
     
  7. Jul 19, 2007 #6
    no line in between, either i talk or i sing, people get irritated:rofl::rofl:
     
  8. Aug 10, 2007 #7
    From personal experience I can say that there is a big difference between singing and talking and I am not just talking about pitch or rhythm.

    I have a moderate stutter and there are times when I speak that I am unable to get any words across. However I have NEVER stuttered while singing. I am not unique either. I remember reading about someone who could sing opera but it was nearly impossible for her to speak to anyone due to her severe stutter. Neurologically speaking there must be a difference between the two.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Diff. btw singing and talking
  1. Shatner sings to Lucas (Replies: 1)

  2. Sing my petition (Replies: 8)

Loading...