Subject: lyrics From: Arty Samuel <arty(at)JETSAM.PSY.SUNYSB.EDU> Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 16:09:44 -0400
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.