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Re: lyrics

Arty Samuel wrote:
> List members,
> A graduate student in our program asked me the question below.  I
> would appreciate any suggestions you have to offer, to get him
> started.
> Thanks,
> Arty Samuel
> The question:
>    I want to look into how people perceive and generate meaning from
> speech in songs. The way I've thought of to get at this involves
> looking at how people process noisy signals of various kinds with
> regard to understanding their meaning. I've also been thinking about
> an analogy to the hidden pictures used in visual perception: Take the
> spotty picture that becomes a dalmatian sniffing at the ground. Once
> you know what the picture is of, you can't avoid seeing the dog.
> Similarly, after I've listened to songs with the lyrics in front of
> me it becomes difficult to hear the speech as anything but what's
> written. It isn't impossible though, because sometimes when I've done
> this I retain memory for an incorrect interpretation that I generated
> from earlier listenings, one that can compete with the correct one on
> the same and later listenings. Additionally, I've looked at lyrics
> that were incorrect while listening to a song, and they served as
> kind of an anchor point for me to compare the written words with the
> speech in the song, allowing me to determine that the words sung were
> not what I had in front of me (while I think it would be unlikely
> that I could have determined the actual words at all or as easily
> without the written lyrics).
> I hope this is clear enough to help others help me.

This is not about songs as much as it is about information processing
in general. It is a complex topic, that requires a background in
information theory (along with lots of other field tossed in) to even
formulate the problem. It is, in a few words, a basket full.

Jont B. Allen, Room E161
AT&T Labs-Research 180 Park AV.
Florham Park NJ 07932
973/360-8545voice, x8092fax

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