query: metaphors for high/low pitch
gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Wed Jan 3 14:09:49 UTC 2007
I am posting the following query on behalf of a musicologist colleague,
Zohar Eitan (zeitan at post.tau.ac.il). Please respond to *me* with
specific data (which I will compile and then pass on to the author of
the query), to the *lingtyp list* if you think your response is of
general interest, or to *Zohar Eitan* if you wish to discuss these
issues further with him.
In English (and other languages) auditory pitch is metaphorically mapped
onto spatial verticality ("high" vs. "low" notes, ascending vs.
descending melody). I am interested in information on the ways diverse
languages designate the polarities of auditory pitch. In particular:
1. Is the verticality metaphor used to designate auditory pitch poles
(i.e., equivalents of the English "high-low") and the corresponding
pitch changes and ("ascend-descend") ?
2. If so, is the verticality-auditory mapping applied as in English
(e.g., female voices and flute sound are "high", male voices
and double-bass sounds are "low") or in the _opposite_ way?
3. Are other antonyms (e.g., small-large, young-old) used as _general_
terms for the polarities of auditory pitch and for corresponding pitch
4. Are any _specific_ terms used to designate "high" and "low" ranges
of auditory pitch within certain contexts (e.g., the human voices, a
specific musical instrument)? What, if any, are the metaphorical
mapping applied in using these terms?
Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
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