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LAMA Lab Collaborates in Groundbreaking International Project on Music and Language Research


The LAMA Lab is excited to bring you some news straight from the global stage of research. We've been involved in an exciting international project that has set the scientific community abuzz. This study, titled “Globally, songs and instrumental melodies are slower and higher and use more stable pitches than speech: A Registered Report,” (linked here!) has already gotten attention from major media outlets such as the New York Times and Forbes. Here's the scoop:


A Collaborative Effort Across the Globe 


Our recent collaboration, led by Dr. Patrick Savage of the CompMusic Lab at the University of Auckland, included an impressive 75 coauthors from 46 countries. Among them were our very own Christina Vanden Bosch Der Nederlanden (Principal Investigator), Meyha Chhatwal (graduate student), and Ryan Mark David (LAMA Lab alum).


Through analysis of over 300 audio recordings encompassing traditional songs, spoken lyrics, conversational speech, and instrumental melodies, spanning 55 languages, this study has unearthed compelling insights into the acoustic fingerprints of human communication. We compared these recordings, contributed by our esteemed collaborators, with previously published data, totaling 418 adult-directed song and speech recordings from 209 individuals speaking 16 languages.


Key Findings 


So, what did we find? 


  1. Pitch Perfect: Globally, songs exhibited higher pitch than speech, a resounding similarity observed across cultures.

  2. Tempo Tango: Delving deeper, our analysis revealed that songs tend to adopt a slower temporal rate compared to speech, hinting at a universal inclination towards rhythmic modulation in musical expression. 

  3. Stability Sonata: Furthermore, songs not only soar higher but also maintain more stable pitches, a hallmark feature distinguishing them from the dynamic fluctuations of speech. 


The Significance 


These findings resonate deeply with theories hypothesize the evolutionary roots of music and language, suggesting a shared biological foundation underlying these distinct modes of human expression. Our study provides compelling evidence for cross-cultural regularities in music and speech, offering a unique glimpse into the universality of human communication.


Media Coverage 


But wait, there's more! Our research has sparked spirited discussions and garnered widespread attention, with coverage in esteemed publications such as the New York Times and Forbes. This global recognition underscores the significance of our findings and the collaborative spirit that propels scientific inquiry forward. 


Stay Tuned 


As more media coverage and reactions from the scientific community unfold, we invite you to read the full article and commentary for an in-depth understanding of the research: 



We are incredibly proud of Christina, Meyha, and Ryan for their contributions to this significant project. Their dedication and expertise continue to push the boundaries of our understanding of music and language, showcasing the exceptional work being done at the LAMA Lab. 


Stay updated with our latest research and news by visiting our LAMA Lab website, Facebook, and Instagram!

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