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Artistic Recitation of Metered Speech


something is still to come. In its expressive function, the listener can't help being struck by the effeminate character of the high voice. The phonetic application I am using gives the pitch range 80-150 Hz as the typical male range, and 120-280 Hz as the typical female range. Thus, when speaking of the effeminate delights "to pass away the time", the speaker's pitch range goes well into the typically female range. Thus, we have in close proximity "ambitious" articulation and "effeminate" intonation.
The nature of this terminal contour (indeed, of the whole issue) will be illuminated if we compare it to a similar contour on another line-final "time", in the enjambment "sent before my time / Into this breathing world". Here the conflicting cues required by the enjambment generate a similar contour, but with some slight differences. The falling portion of both curves is similar. But the first one is preceded by a rising curve; pitch rises in it from 127 Hz to 177 Hz and then falls to 90 Hz. The second curve is considerably higher and shorter: it falls from 190 Hz to 120 Hz (the first curve falls 87 Hzs, the second one 70 Hzs only). Considering duration, the first "time" is a few milliseconds shorter than the second one; its final [m] is less than half as long as the other one. What can we learn from these measurements about the reciter's vocal strategies at the two line boundaries? In the second "time", all the cues are redundant in signalling arrest: the last word of the line, and the last phoneme of the word are lengthened; it is followed by a considerable pause, and is closed by a terminal intonation contour. The only cue for expecting (not indicating) continuity is the relatively high pitch of the terminal contour. In the first "time" there are conflicting cues, for indicating continuation and discontinuation. There is no measurable pause between "time" and "Into"; the lengthened last word of the line indicates arrest, but the unexpectedly short word-final [m] would suggest continuation; and the long and low-falling intonation contour unambiguously signals arrest. Listening to the lines strongly confirms this analysis.

IMAGE imgs/Phonetic_cues_(intuit)_108.gif

Figure 8

Wave plots and pitch contours of the word "time", excised from "sent before my time" and "pass away the time".