Guided Tours

There are a number of interesting stories that can be told about rhythm and speech using our audio clips. Take a look.

Tour 1: One-, Two- and Three-Beat Patterns.
The most basic rhythm is Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp where each beat is the same as each other. Then, one can make a 2-beat pattern by nesting a faster cycle within one that's slower or by alternating the beats, like DIT dah DIT dah DIT dah. People often do these patterns for work or for games and, generally, whenever you give them a chance. Three -beat patterns are slightly more difficult than two-beat ones, but occur widely in music, poetry, etc: GO to the KITCHen and BEAT on the WALLS. This tour will show you some examples of 1, 2 and 3-beat rhythms observed in various speech styles.
Tour 2: Are There Rhythmic Styles for Languages?: `Stress Timing' vs. `Syllable Timing'.
Several phoneticians claimed early in the 20th century that some languages (like English, Russian, German, etc) are `Stress Timed', meaning that the intervals between the stressed syllables tend to be regularized or equally spaced. Further, they claimed that some other languages (like French, Chinese, etc) were `Syllable Timed'. This tour will let you listen and decide for yourself
Tour 3: Speech Cycling: Experimental Speech Rhythm Tasks
Several of us at Indiana University have been developing laboratory speech tasks that allow experimental observation of rhythm in speech. In the `speech cycling' task subjects repeat a phrase like `Take a pack of cards, Take a pack of cards,....' to a metronome. All our subjects show a strong tendency toward `harmonic timing' of beats (as defined above). That is, subjects tend to place prominent (eg, stressed) beats at the longer harmonic fractions (eg, 1/2, 1/3, 2/3) of the repetition cycle. Something is clearly universal here, but something is also specific to particular languages in these tasks.
Tour 4: Offbeat Speech Tasks
Another experimental task we have explored is to have subjects to say a syllable like [da] both on the beat and off the beat with respect to a metronome. Evidence obtained suggests a specific dynamical model based on Haken and Kelso's model for finger wagging is appropriate. Several details of their model are replicated here. In this tour, you can hear several trials by our subjects. (Kaipainen and Port)

Tour 5: How regular is the rhythm of singing?

Some singing is very rhythm, that is, sung to a strongly rhythmic pulse. Other styles of singing are much looser and linguistic timing seems to dominate musical timing.
Many additional Tours will be designed.

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Robert Port,