Voice portraiture as a metalanguage

Davidson, Robert and Topology (2005). Voice portraiture as a metalanguage. In: SPIN SPeculation and INnovation: Applying Practice Led Research in the Creative Industries. SPIN: Speculation and Innovation, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia, (). 30 March-1 April 2005.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Davidson, Robert
Title of paper Voice portraiture as a metalanguage
Conference name SPIN: Speculation and Innovation
Conference location Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 30 March-1 April 2005
Proceedings title SPIN SPeculation and INnovation: Applying Practice Led Research in the Creative Industries
Place of Publication Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia
Publisher Queensland University of Technology
Publication Year 2005
Sub-type Oral presentation
Open Access Status
ISBN 9781741071313
Total pages 1 Conference presentation
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Voice portraiture is a metalanguage emerging from the convergence of linguistic and musical discourse. This practice works from the premise that each individual projects a distinctive self-representation through speech prosody. Salient features of this prosody may be represented in musical discourse through the reinterpretation of intonation patterns and meters as musical elements such as melodies and rhythms. The result is a musical style that is drawn uniquely from the way an individual speaks.

This compositional approach is demonstrated in works using the recorded voices of public figures, such as Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Sir John Kerr in Big Decisions (2002), or John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower in General, what about…? (2004). In these works, well-known historical events are reinterpreted through the speech melody of the principal figures. As speech melody is usually the primary carrier of emotional meaning in English, this compositional approach focuses attention on the emotional state of each speaker. Emotional meaning is represented in ways that are not available through music or language alone. The emerging melodic material is extended, amplified and developed through music composition techniques, and entwined with relevant musical references (such as Cuban salsa montunos accompanying Kennedy's discussion of Soviet Missiles in Cuba) to create a documentary-parody musical approach using live musical performance accompanying video and audio recordings. Using software such as Humdrum, transcribed speech melodies are analysed to discover characteristic melodic and rhythmic patterns for use as the basis of the emerging musical idiolect.

The presentation will include performances of Big Decisions and General, what about… by the Topology quintet with Robert Davidson.
Keyword Original Creative Works - Textual work
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Presented during the Session "Presentations of Practice Led Research". This paper not reproduced in the Proceedings.

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Created: Fri, 13 Jan 2012, 01:55:15 EST by Dr Robert Davidson on behalf of School of Music