Towards a new method of analysis for vocal timbre in popular song

Tuesday 24 November 2015, 2 – 3 pm

Arts Lecture Theatre A3 (Bldg E11)

Confirmation of Candidature

presented by Kristal Spreadborough, PhD Student, Social Sciences/Arts, University of New England, Armidale

This study explores the role and impact of vocal timbre in the perception of emotional meaning of lyrics in particular musical contexts, namely specific popular lyric based song genres.

Currently, there are no studies that take this approach when dealing with the analysis of popular vocal song. Although there are studies investigating timbre (Cogan and Escot 1976, Cogan 1987, Smalley 1994, Brackett 1995, Smalley 1997, van Leeuwen 1999, Blake 2012, van Leeuwen 2012), these do not consider how vocal timbre impacts the emotional perception of lyrics. There is also a lack of studies that engage reception testing to determine if this experience of meaning transcends the personal experience of the analyser.

My research sits within this gap. It looks at vocal timbre and its impact on lyric perception as a way of understanding (analysing) popular vocal song and attempts to consolidate these concepts through the use of reception tests.

Kristal is currently undertaking her PhD in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. Her research examines the way in which vocal timbre impacts the emotional perception of sung words, contributing to research on (vocal) timbre
perception and analysis.