Intonation and deltas
The World Radio Network
rotates through several SW broadcasters in English. Listening to the daily hour from Radio Slovakia right now. As with any broadcast, there are soundbites of local politicians, translated to English. I'm always struck by the absolutely flat
music of Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian. No other languages are so completely free of intonation. Czech and Slovak are very closely related; could be called dialects instead of separate languages; so their shared tendency could have "evolved" from a common ancestor. Vertical gene transfer. But Hungarian is completely unrelated, so the habit must have spread through listening and copying. Horizontal gene transfer.
Typically but not always, lower-status people copy manners and habits from higher-status. I don't know which way the copying ran in this case, but it must have been powerful to create such a precise little No-Tone Zone.
The Slovakian announcers when speaking English make a point of adding more music to sound more appropriate. It doesn't quite work, just as a Hindoo's attempt
to flatten out his extreme music doesn't quite work.
Does actual music sound "more musical" to a Slovak?
Later: No, I guess not ... or if it did, we'd have no way of knowing. Czech and Hungarian composers didn't
produce notably wider or narrower ranges of melody than other Euro composers. It's sort of like the stupid El Greco astigmatism controversy. Even if El Greco did have distorted lenses, it wouldn't have affected his painting. He would have made the image on the canvas match the image he saw in reality, which means the paintings would be normal. His preference for vertical stretching had to be intentional and stylistic.
Getting a bit mathy: Assume his corneas or lenses multiplied height by 2. We could write a formula
HeightInBrain = HeightInReality * 2.
Or the other way around,
HeightInReality = HeightInBrain / 2.
He would put the image on canvas so that the resulting HeightInBrain would be the same as the HeightInBrain from the real world.
So HeightOnCanvas would also have to equal HeightInBrain / 2.
Even more mathy, these formulas really should be using Aspect Ratio instead of Height, but this is already too much work for an argument that wasn't needed in the first place!
Labels: Real World Math