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Musical tones 'reflect human speech'

The tonal qualities of music are very closely connected with the sound of human speech, a new study has revealed.
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The sound of a minor or major chord on a piano or acoustic guitar has long been known to arouse a mixture of emotions in listeners.

And according to a new study, there is a scientific reason to why chords can resonate so strongly with people.

Researchers at Duke University in the US compared the tones of human speech with those in thousands of folk and classical compositions.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, found that there were many common features between the spoken word and music.

For example, happy speech was said to feature the same combination of tones as those found in a major chord.

Meanwhile, the sound of sadness in a person's voice was found to relate closely to the tone of a minor chord.

Professor Dale Purves, one of the scientists behind the study, commented: "Our appreciation of music is a happy byproduct of the biological advantages of speech and our need to understand its emotional content."

The chord of Dm was famously named as the saddest of all chords by Nigel Tufnel, electric guitar player in spoof rock band Spinal Tap.

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Posted on 15 Dec 2009 12:11 to category : Instruments News

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