voice and race recognition

A. Katz amnfn at well.com
Thu Dec 30 20:52:11 UTC 2010

Wow! Is there really such an academic discipline as "race theory"?

Did you follow how that research was carried out?


On Thu, 30 Dec 2010, Moore, John wrote:

> I was an external member on a music qualifying exam many years ago, where the proposal was to investigate exactly this.  The student described it as a distinctive 'timber'.  However, in the exam it because clear that neither she, nor anyone else on the committee were able to understand that phonological features of different speech varieties and timber might be different things (it surprised me as 'timber' has a clear technical meaning in music).  Try as I might, I couldn't get the idea across that, for example,  AAVE vowel quality, was different from 'timber', in the musical sense (although in the phonetic sense it does all come down to formants, but that was far beyond that discussion).  After the qualifying exam I was replaced with someone with more background in race theory.
> John
> ________________________________________
> On the other hand, Andre Cooper, who's a phonetician and Black and a big opera
> fan, once told me that no matter how much Black woman are trained as opera
> singers, there's always something distinctive about their voice quality
> (although obviously we're dealing with a pretty small sample here).

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