Archive for Recitation

Syllable-scale wheelbarrow spectrogram

Following up on Saturday's post "Towards automated babble metrics", I thought I'd try the same technique on some adult speech, specifically William Carlos Williams reading his poem "The Red Wheelbarrow".

Why might some approach like this be useful? It's a way of visualizing syllable-scale frequency patterns (roughly 1 to 8 Hz or so) without having to do any phonetic segmentation or classification. And for early infant vocalizations, where speech-like sounds gradually mix in with coos and laughs and grunts and growls and fussing, it might be the basis for some summary statistics that would be useful in tracing a child's developmental trajectory.

Is it actually good for anything? I don't know . The basic idea was presented in a 1947 book as a way to visualize the performance of metered verse. Those experiments didn't really work, and the idea seems to have been abandoned afterwards — though the authors' premise was that verse "beats" should be exactly periodic in time, which was (and is) false.  In contrast, my idea is that the method might let us characterize variously-inexact periodicities.

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Reading the Quran

The following photograph appears in this BBC article: "Why is Sanskrit so controversial?"

It is accompanied by this caption: "Muslims in India choose to learn Arabic".

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Cantonese poetry recitation

A recent issue (1/7/14) of the South China Morning Post (SCMP) carried an article by a staff reporter entitled "Hong Kong student's poem recital goes viral in the mainland ". The article features this amazing video of a Hong Kong high school student reciting a couple of Classical Chinese poems:

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