Sadakata. M., Desain, P., Honing, H., Patel, A. D., & Iversen, J. R. (2004). An analysis of rhythm in Japanese and English popular music. roceedings of the Annual meeting of the Japanese Society for Music Perception and Cognition, 2003, 49-52.


Recently, there has been evidence that the rhythm in English and French non-vocal musical themes are significantly different in their contrastiveness of successive durations in the same manner as those of spoken language, suggesting that acomposer's native language exerts an influence on the music composed (Patel & Daniele, 2003). This has been shown using normalized Pairwise Variability Index(nPVI; Grabe & Low, 2002). Would such an effect of a composer's native language also exist for music written with lyrics? Or would the language of the lyrics exert astronger rhythmic influence on the music? In the present study, we compare rhythm in popular music with Japanese and English lyrics. The preliminary result, for musicwritten by Japanese composers, showed a small but significant difference between them, suggesting successive durations in Japanese popular music are less contrastivethan in English. The effect is in accordance with the differences between spoken Japanese and English, and suggests that the language of the lyrics with which themusic is composed exerts an influence on the rhythmic structure of the music, despite the composer's native language.

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