Vocal Production, Paralanguage, and Meaning in American

Dave Easley, Oklahoma City University ([email protected])
2014 Society for Music Theory National Conference, Milwaukee, WI
Figure 1: Paralinguistic features of (a) speech and (b) hardcore vocal production, and (c) paralinguistic markers of intensity in hardcore
Primary qualities
pitch, loudness, temporal cues
voice types: breathy, harsh, tense
clicks, inhalations, moans, groans
limited melodic activity
middle to higher register
2+2 model vs. fast rate of declamation
clipped syllables and words
rising melodic motion
rising register
increasingly loud
slower to faster rate of declamation
increasingly clipped
harsh voice
tense voice
increasingly tense, leading to vocal noise
singing vs. heightened speech vs. shouting/screaming
increasingly heightened mode of declamation
sighing, shouting, laughing
Figure 2: Definitions of paralinguistic categories (all from Poyatos 2002 and Lacasse 2010)
primary qualities
Characteristics of voice that differentiate individuals: timbre, resonance, intensity or volume, tempo, pitch (level, intervals, range), intonation range, syllabic
duration, and rhythm
Modification of verbal utterances. Includes breathing effects (e.g., whispery voice), laryngeal effects (e.g., creaky voice, harsh voice, tense voice), and
others created by pharyngeal control and nasality.
Vocal sounds that occur independently of verbal utterances. Includes moans, groans, hisses, snorts, etc.
Modification of verbal utterances or occurring independently. Includes sound constructs such as laughter, crying, shouting/screaming, sighing, gasping, etc.
“Institutionalized” (Suicidal Tendencies, 1983)
“Bad Attitude” (Articles of Faith, 1982)
Verse 1
Sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn’t work out the
way I wanted to.
I get real frustrated and I try hard to do it and I take my time
and it doesn't work out the way I wanted to.
It’s like I concentrate real hard and it doesn't work out.
Everything I do and everything I try never turns out.
It’s like I need time to figure these things out.
But there’s always someone there going.
Hey Mike, you know we’ve been noticing you’ve been having a
lot of problems lately.
You know, maybe you should get away and maybe you should
talk about it, maybe you’ll feel a lot better.
Verse 1
Bad attitude’s a catch-all phrase
When things don’t work out their way
When you know you’re supposed to stay
Right in your place
And I go, no it’s okay, you know I’ll figure it out, just leave me
alone I’ll figure it out.
You know I’ll just work by myself.
And they go, well you know if you want to talk about it I’ll be
here you know and you’ll probably feel a lot better if you
talk about it. So why don’t you talk about it?
I go, no I don’t want to I’m okay, I’ll figure it out myself and
they just keep bugging me and they just keep bugging me
and it builds up inside and it builds up inside.
So you’re gonna be institutionalized
You’ll come out brainwashed with bloodshot eyes
You won’t have any say
They’ll brainwash you until you see their way.
I’m not crazy – in an institution
You’re the one who’s crazy – in an institution
You’re driving me crazy – in an institution
They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy – myself.
In the corner be a man
Get away with what you can
As long as you don’t rip them who
Keep you in your place
You know that it’s not right to hate
It must be that you’re born that way
You need some more – indoctrinate
Or else they’ll put you away
Verse 2
Bad attitude’s what they serve you
When their need for you is through
Cause you got that attitude
Keep you in your place
Bad attitude’s what it must be
Because you don’t think just like me
Or want all those handsome things
To keep you in your place
You know that it’s not right to hate
It must be that you’re born that way
You need some more – indoctrinate
Or else they’ll put you away
Bad attitude
Verse 3
Bad attitude’s what I’ve been told
Since I was just five years old
And didn’t buy what they had sold
Right in my place
Bad attitude but “be yourself ”
Just enough like someone else
Another soul who needs our help
Awww – go to hell
You know that it’s not right to hate
It must be that you’re born that way
You need some more – indoctrinate
Or else they’ll put you away
Bad attitude . . .
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