Lyrical speech melody

Since antiquity, poets have been likened to singers. The Romantic understanding of poetry has further reinforced the analogies between music and poetry. Our project investigates the extent to which this analogy can be pushed beyond meter and rhyme to include speech melody. To be sure, each sentence has a melodic contour in accordance with the prosody of a given language. Hypothesizing that lyrical language has a musical melody, however, more specifically stipulates that some melodic features should apply differentially to lyrical and ordinary language. In order to test this hypothesis, we experimentally modify the poetic diction of poems and employ a variety of statistical measures – some of which are typically used solely for the analysis of genuine musical melodies– in order to establish potential differences in "melodiousness" between the original and the modified versions.