chapter  3
41 Pages

The Cantometric Coding Book

CANTOMETRICS, a coined word which means a measure of song or song as a measure, is a method for systematically and holistically describing the gen­ eral features of accompanied or unaccompanied song performances. With the cantometric system the listener can evaluate a song performance in ways that supplement the conventional measures of melody, rhythm, and har­ mony. The several systems of musical notation found in Western Europe, India, the Near East, and elsewhere make it possible to record various details of melodic and metrical movement and to reproduce them with accuracy. There are, however, many other expressive and social phenomena which shape all musical productions. For example, if the same tune is sung by cul­ ture A in a wide-voiced, well-blended unison and by culture B in narrow, harshly blended overlap, two different songs are likely to be perceived be­ cause of a shift in three performance controls. Such features of the musical event may be characterized as paramusicai in relation to the melody, just as emphasis, speed, and vocal rasp are paralinguistic, and play an important qualifying role in the spoken event. Indeed, it was contact with the teaching and the writings of George and Edith Trager, Haxey Smith, and Ray Birdwhistell, all of whom had made important contributions to the study of the paralinguistic or non-verbal aspects of discourse, that stimulated the senior editor of this book to develop the present system.