什么构成了一首歌?每种文化里都有相同的东西
What Makes a Song? It’s the Same Recipe in Every Culture
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2019-12-09 17:12
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火星译客

From the first soothing lullabies babies hear to the funereal dirges that accompany the deceased, music is a fixture of the human experience. The latest findings on the cultural basis of singing have ascertained that certain song types—whether lullaby, dance, love or healing melodies—turn up in all cultures. And each kind of song has common cross-cultural acoustic features.

从婴儿听到的第一首抚慰人心的催眠曲,到陪伴死者的哀乐,音乐是人类经验的固定组成部分。关于歌唱的文化基础的最新发现已经确定,某些类型的歌曲——无论是摇篮曲、舞蹈、爱情还是治愈的旋律——在所有的文化中都会出现。每种歌曲都有共同的跨文化声学特征。

By analyzing a database of ethnographic descriptions and recordings of songs from around the world, a research team from multiple universities discovered commonalities in acoustic features such as tone, tempo and pitch. The organization of melodies around a hierarchical chord structure—tonality—appears as a common attribute across all cultures included in the database. Music varies more within than between cultures, indicating that each uses song in the same social context.

多所大学人员构成的一个研究小组通过分析世界各地的民族志采风和歌曲录音的数据库,发现了音色、节奏和音高等声学特征的共性。围绕分层和/弦结构(音调)的旋律组织是数据库中所有文化的一个共同属性。同一文化中音乐的差异比不同文化之间的差异更大,这表明每种文化都在相同的社会背景下使用歌曲。

The study tries to come to grips with the debate among musicologists as to whether song is a universal human trait that may have deep evolutionary roots. Darwin thought early hominins sang before they developed language, and certain aspects of music appreciation appear to be hardwired in the human brain. “Music is a biological human function, like language is,” says Isabelle Peretz, a psychologist at the University of Montreal who was not involved in the study. “As a consequence, music is a universal trait and should exhibit universal properties.”

这项研究试图处理音乐学家之间的争论,即歌曲是否是一种普遍的人类特征,是否有很深的进化根源。达尔文认为,在语言出现之前,早期的人类就会唱歌,而且音乐欣赏的某些方面似乎是人类大脑中所固有的东西。没有参与这项研究的蒙特利尔大学心理学家伊莎贝尔·佩雷茨说,但她没有参与这项研究。““音乐是人类的一种生理功能,就像语言一样,因此,音乐是一种普遍的特性,应该表现出普遍的特性。”

The new research, published Thursday in Science, suggests that humans indeed share a “musical grammar,” says psychologist Samuel Mehr, director of the Harvard Music Lab and the study’s lead author. “Music is built from similar, simple building blocks the world over,” he says.

周四发表在《科学》杂志上的这项新研究表明,人类确实共享一种“音乐语法”,哈佛大学音乐实验室主任、该研究的第一作者、心理学家塞缪尔·梅尔说。他说:“音乐是由世界各地相似而简单的积木搭成的。”

Mehr and his colleagues compiled 4,709 written accounts of vocal music made by ethnographers and anthropologists over more than a century of research in 60 societies, and combined them with a discography of lullabies, love songs, healing songs and dances to create a cross-cultural database they dubbed the Natural History of Song (NHS), which is available online. They focused on song because unlike instrumental music, singing is independent of technology and has clear biological underpinnings. They chose four kinds of songs to analyze: lullabies, healing songs, love songs, and dances.

梅尔和他的同事汇编了民族志学家和人类学家对60多个社会组织进行研究所编写的4,709份声乐书面记录,并将它们与摇篮曲,爱情歌曲,治愈的歌曲和舞蹈的唱片相结合,以创建一个跨文化数据库 他们将其称为“歌曲自然史”,该数据库可在线获取。 他们专注于歌曲,因为与器乐不同,唱歌独立于技术并且具有明显的生物学基础。 他们选择了四种歌曲进行分析:摇篮曲,治愈歌曲,情歌和舞曲。

Mentawai children practice in a kitchen on Indonesia's Siberut Island. Credit: Manvir Singh; Mentawai people

明打威群岛的孩子们在印度尼西亚西比路岛的厨房里练习。信贷:曼维尔·辛格;明打威群岛人

“Our goal was to representatively sample the music that people produce around the world,” says study co-author Manvir Singh, an anthropologist at Harvard. “The first thing we had to confront was: How do you represent this music? Ethnomusicologists have rightly critiqued projects that use a single scheme, like representing the world’s music in a Western staff because obviously [that] brings all kinds of biases.” To avoid this, Singh says, the team used a suite of analytical approaches. They transcribed the songs with Western notation, cataloged them with music information retrieval software and had 30 expert musicologists and hundreds of laypersons listen to and make annotations for excitement and pleasantness and other qualities. They then applied machine classifiers to test whether the identifiable acoustic features of each kind of song predict a song is a lullaby or some other in each of the 60 cultures surveyed.

“我们的目标是有代表性地采样世界各地人们创作的音乐,”该研究的合著者、哈佛大学人类学家曼维尔·辛格说。“我们必须面对的第一件事是:你如何表现这种音乐?”民族音乐学家正确地批评了使用单一方案的项目,比如用西方谱号代表世界音乐,因为很明显这会带来各种偏见。辛格说,为了避免这种情况,研究小组使用了一套分析方法。他们用西方的乐谱进行转录,用音乐信息检索软件对歌曲进行编目,并让30名音乐专家和数百名外行人员聆听,并对歌曲进行注释,以获得兴奋、愉悦和其他特征。然后,他们用分类器来测试每种歌曲的可识别的声学特征是否可以预测这首歌是摇篮曲还是其他歌曲。

The analyses revealed that music appears in every culture the researchers observed, and that songs vary primarily in three ways—their formality, religiosity and arousal (or level of excitement). Those common acoustic features predict the context in which a song is used in every culture they studied. Music also varies along the two dimensions of melodic and rhythmic complexity.

分析显示,研究人员观察到的每种文化中都有音乐出现,而歌曲主要在三个方面有所不同——它们的形式、宗教虔诚度和兴奋度(或兴奋程度)。这些共同的声学特征预测了他们所研究的每种文化中歌曲的使用环境。音乐在旋律和节奏的复杂性两个维度上也各不相同。

“Humans everywhere share some cognitive mechanism that may have evolved specifically for music, or they may have evolved for mundane purposes like analyzing an auditory environment,” Singh says. “On the basis of these cognitive mechanisms, certain songs sound appropriate in certain behavioral contexts.”

辛格说:“世界各地的人类都有一些共同的认知机制,这些机制可能是专门为音乐而进化出来的,也可能是为了分析一个听觉环境等日常目的而进化出来的,基于这些认知机制,某些歌曲在特定的行为环境中听起来很合适。”

The researchers took pains to correct for potential biases that any Western ethnographers may have unwittingly brought to their study of non-Western cultures, and noted other possible constraints on their work: experts could have brought their own preconceptions to the annotation process, and the data do not reflect how people in the societies included in the study perceive tonality in their music.

研究人员竭力纠正任何西方民族志学家可能无意间将其带入非西方文化研究的潜在偏见,并指出了其工作可能受到的其他限制:专家本可以对注释过程和数据提出自己的先入之见。 不能反映研究中所涉及社会的人们如何在音乐中感知音调。

Some musicologists criticized certain aspects of the methodology. “Using Western notation to notate examples and then drawing conclusions from those notated scores is a really problematic practice,” says Shannon Dudley, an ethnomusicologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study. “Subtleties of rhythm, subtleties of pitch differentiation, articulation and timbre—there are a lot of things that have a huge impact on the way people hear music that aren’t there in [Western] notation.” Ève Poudrier, a music theorist at the University of British Columbia who was not involved in the study, agrees. Poudrier notes that one of the musical features the researchers mapped to behavioral contexts was whether the song was in a major or minor key. “Major [and] minor is one system of classification of scales that actually is accurate only in Western music,” she says.

一些音乐学家对这种方法的某些方面提出了批评。华盛顿大学的民族音乐学家香农•达德利表示:“用西方符号标注例子,然后从这些标注的分数中得出结论,这种做法确实存在问题。”达德利没有参与这项研究。“节奏的微妙,音高的细微差别,发音和定音鼓——有很多东西对人们听音乐的方式产生了巨大的影响,而这些都是(西方)记谱法所没有的。伊芙·普德里耶是英属哥伦比亚大学的音乐理论家,她没有参与这项研究。普德里指出,研究人员将音乐特征与行为环境联系起来,其中之一就是这首歌是大调还是小调。她说:“只有在西方音乐中,大调和小调才是一种准确的音阶分类系统。”

Mehr says that staff notation was just one of the five methods the researchers used to analyze the songs. “We find the same result each of the five ways—that form and function are linked worldwide,” he says. “This suggests that while indeed the transcriptions are missing out on some information related to the singing (like timbre, words, accompanying instruments, etc.), they are nonetheless capturing meaningful information about the vocalizations in the songs.” He also says the use of major or minor keys is “simply about the pattern of pitches that are audibly present in the recording. Either they’re present or they’re not, and it’s up to the data to show us whether these features are meaningful in terms of the relation between form and function.” Singh adds that no methodology is perfect, and that the NHS data is all open-access. “We’d be glad for anyone to test our conclusions using an alternative method,” he says.

梅尔说,谱号只是研究人员用来分析歌曲的五种方法之一。 他说:“我们在五种方式中都发现了相同的结果-形式和功能在全球范围内联系在一起。” “这表明,尽管确实在与唱歌有关的某些信息(例如音色,单词,伴奏乐器等)上缺少转录,但它们仍在捕获有关歌曲发声的有意义的信息。”他还说 “主要或次要键的“只是关于录音中可听见的音高模式”。 它们的存在与否,取决于数据,向我们展示这些功能在形式和功能之间的关系方面是否有意义。” 辛格补充说,没有一种方法是完美的,NHS数据是全部对外开放。 他说:“我们很高兴有人可以使用其他方法来检验我们的结论。”

W. Tecumseh Fitch, a cognitive biologist at the University of Vienna who was not involved in the study, co-authored an accompanying commentary in Science. He says the discovery that musical traits are widespread in humans is consistent with the idea that musicality is very old. “While this [study] certainly doesn’t confirm Darwin’s proto-language hypothesis, I think it’s consistent with the idea that music is very ancient indeed in our species,” he says. “It’s amazing how diverse it is, but at the same time … these commonalities are still there.”

w·特库姆塞·费奇,维也纳大学的认知生物学家,《科学》杂志的联合评论家,他没有参与这项研究。他说,音乐特征在人类中普遍存在的发现与音乐性非常古老的观点是一致的。他说:“虽然这项研究肯定没有证实达尔文的原始语言假说,但我认为它与音乐在人类中确实非常古老的观点是一致的。”“它的多样性令人惊讶,但与此同时……这些共性仍然存在。”

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Jim Daley

吉姆·戴利

Jim Daley is a science journalist based in Chicago. See more of his writing at jimdaleywrites.com

吉姆·戴利是芝加哥的一名科学记者。更多关于他的文章,请登录jimdaleywrites.com

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