Music and Speech Pathology

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It is well known how to synthesise speech and singing using digital technology (To create artificial voices). There are also many machines that can interpret human voices. The technology is almost exclusively used to emulate voices as realistically and as “correctly” as possible.

Our project takes the opposite approach. It takes its inspiration from speech pathology (communication disorders) and brings it together with contemporary music: What happens when we break down “correct” speech in different Nordic languages to create music?

We are interested in investigating the musical aspects in speech. (Which musical expressions are necessary for generating understandable speech?) We are also interested in investigating music as language. (How does music constitute a form of communication between humans?)

The project’s goals are fourfold:

- To develop special software for distorting speech and singing that is specially designed for music composition.
- To understand what speech pathology and contemporary music can learn from each other.
- With the help of the new software investigate garbled versions four different Nordic languages to produce aesthetically interesting music.
- To create public events that presents concerts of contemporary music and talks about speech pathology.

The project is focused around three workshops in three Nordic capitals (Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo). Each workshop will contain private sessions where the participants will work together. In the workshops they will develop the foundations both for software and the basis for performances. Within the project we will also organise public events with concerts and lectures to spread the results. The project specifically compares spoken and sung voices from four Nordic languages: Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian. The comparative aspect gives the participants in the project both a deeper understanding of their own and other Nordic languages as well as the music in each country.

The project’s partners: Curatorial Mutiny, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Karolinska institutet, Stockholm; Norges Musikkhøgskole Oslo; Akusmata, Helsinki and Huhta Home Studios, Copenhagen; Donders Institute, Nijmegen and ICM at Hôpital Universitaire Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.