A Computational Model for Music and Text Analysis

In this work, I propose a computational model to analyze music with text. This model takes its basis from Principles&Parameters approach in generative linguistics. Thus, we first see a set of building blocks of the model, rule system between these building blocks and how this system analyzes or generates surface structure of any constructed music with text.

The really long and exhaustive video on this page presents all conceptual basis and hands-on practice of the analysis. Thus, this video is presented for music theory professionals rather than everyday music listeners. In the next step, It is important to teach this analysis to machines and have them perform this quite instructional and procedural process that give us chance to have more time to deal with results of analysis rather than analysis's itself.

Analysis of Music with Text : Harmonic Semantics for Franz Schubert in his “Schaefer Klagelied."

The present work is an analysis of music with text in a cognitive approach as to how some expressive meaning is constructed in music compositions with lyrics; and, ultimately, how music and text interact with each other. I analyze Franz Schubert’s “Schaefer Klagelied,” there will be two interpretations of the analyzed passages under the title of “technical” and “summary.” The technical part is for those who may be a music theorist, computer scientist, generative linguists or any person who is interested in music analysis as professionals. However, “summary” is for those who need to know nothing about music. Thus, I will not use any technical terminology in the summary part, neither from music nor interdisciplinary fields I used in the present work.

Before going further, I would like to mention two cognitive traditions that are embodied cognition and computational cognition in music. Each tradition accepts that there are some patterns of knowledge, the former believes that it is acquired in a cultural environment by external instruments like body, and latter assumes these patterns take place in the mind of people as rules which is a hardwired and built in system. My position is like why we don’t represent these common denominators that are patterns with a visualization tool and some rules. It is true I use analytical tools of computational cognitive approach thinking while we are still in so early period in the valuable generative musico-linguistics programs to demonstrate the proposal musical patterns are already in the mind of people as a hardwired system, these patterns are not completely freed from the environment they are acquired from. There is no doubt that mind and body are equally important for any cognitive aspect of the world; however, it is ages long game to demonstrate which one comes first. This point is between the theology and science where is the playground of the philosophy. Current general cognitive science though is far from single sided interpretations as opposed to music theory where is a field of polarized thinking between either one or another extreme.

Summary

First musical closure specifies the first stanza of the poem has a gloomy music with somewhat positive and lovely lyrics that makes feel good to learn how a man visits a beautiful place and enjoy staring the valley. Thus, overall, it seems to be a neutral expression takes place in this part that requires us to wait for the end of the musical journey.

Second musical closure that is the illustration of the second stanza of the poem has joyful music with somewhat positive and lovely lyrics. The protagonist follows his herd with the help of his dog. However, it happens something strange he comes somewhere without being aware of how to arrive to that place. This part is represented with a somewhat sad harmony, overall, it seems to be a range harmony from joyful to sad expression takes place in the second musical closure

Third musical closure has a somewhat neutral though closer to a sad expression since we learn that even if protagonist does something good picking up some flowers from meadow which is represented with happy harmony, then it is touching to know he doesn’t have someone to give them in which this part is represented with two different sad categorical harmonies in music.

In the fourth musical closure, Schubert makes it clear how he expresses some scary and delusional realities. Under some bad conditions protagonist looks for a shelter and find it under a tree that is something gloomy and this part is represented with an inconclusive depressed harmony though then we understand all explained are dream as a scary reality which is explained with a modal borrowing and augmented chords that replace the sad like impression of the piece so far to fearful impression and then reality is introduced to an inconclusive, feary, sad harmony that represents he is locked in a place he thinks is a shelter for him.

Fifth musical closure has joyful music at the beginning with somewhat positive and lovely lyrics. The protagonist sees a rainbow at the home he lives though he is locked in there as we have already known from the preceding passage. However, he is aware of that the woman he loves is far away from him and he doesn’t even know where she is. This part is represented with a somewhat mournful harmony, overall, it seems to be a joyful expression turns to be a sad one at the end of the passage.

Sixth musical closure has overall sad music with gloomy text that makes listeners feel grief to see how protagonist accepted his current desperate situation that the woman he loves is so far away from him and he is occupied herding his flock with an endless despair.

Technical Analysis

In the technical part, I use a novel language which takes its basis from an analytical technique, I introduced its basis in the video on this page. As we will see that there are some concepts like subject position, predicate position, specifier, adjunct and complement positions of music building blocks, internal and external merge. I am sorry to exhaust readers to watch a long video about these concepts, however, I believe this analysis might be useful in terms of applying some computational models in music cognition. Those concepts refer to some abbreviations of those long and sometimes exhaustive rules to implement in software programs hypothesizing how we may think about music and what are the basis of performing music.

First Musical Closure

The first musical closure corresponds to the ending of the first stanza of the poem. In the beginning of the melody as the onset discontinuity of the piece, there is a gloomy harmony with the lyrics “Da droben auf jenem Berge,” “On the mountain over there”. Even if the lyrics seem to be highly neutral, the sadness of the harmony makes overall expression of music somewhat depressed in the onset discontinuity.

From the predicate position of the piece, a neutral harmony comes to an end with a droopy impression in the first tonic prolongation. This part is accompanied by the lyrics “Da steh ich tausendmal,”, “A thousand times I stand”. Even if this negative valence melody and positive valence lyrics make the overall impression neutral here, the predictive expectation from the music gives a sense that these first harmonies reveal a sad story moving forward.

From the second discontinuity as tonicization of the main tonality to second tonic prolongation, overall gives a negative valence in harmony that is because of the tonic prolongation with Em. However, it is interesting to get the impression music moves forward and extended with a harmonic variation makes feel good at the tonicization. In terms of the lyrics, the first tonic prolongation is accompanied by “An meinem Stabe gebogen” “Bent on my staff” is a neutral expression. However, when we merge this statement with the previous statement.

Da droben auf jenem Berge, (On the mountain over there)

Da steh ich tausendmal, (A thousand times I stand)

It creates excitement about what the ultimate result will be about. In consideration with music and text, lyrics from the beginning to end gives a positive valence excitement to wait for the end of the story and music is consistent to give a sad impression with a brief tonicization interruption which has somewhat positive valence. Overall, negative valence music and positive valence lyrics create a neutral impression. Building up this neutral impression is confirmed by the last verse of the lyrics and cadential phrase of the music. Accordingly, with the last verse that “Und schaue hinab in das Tal.”, “Down on the valley.” Onset of the narrative is completed giving a sense a man who stare down on the valley and visits there frequently. This overall statement of the text of the Clause Phrase of music seems to be a calm expression apart from the musical impression. In terms of harmonic expression of the Cadential Phrase, the first two harmonies are neutral that wait for the complement chord of the cadential phrase that is a negative valence tonic chord Em that makes all impression of the Cadential phrase sad.

Second Musical Closure

Before the second musical phrase that represents second stanza, there is a brief Em starting and G Major closure musical phrase. I don’t call it cadence as it is prescriptively not a cadence. However, it is a phrase that certainly has a closure beginning with a stable harmony and ending with another one in the same diatonic structure. The composer seems to carry the feeling of the music from somewhat sad to joyful impression. I call this bridge phrase an independent unit before the phrase second closure of music with text. Bridge is not a musical phrase with text, so I don’t count it as the second musical closure .

The second musical closure corresponds to the ending of the second stanza. In the beginning of the melody as the onset discontinuity of the piece, there is a delightful harmony with the lyrics “Dann folg’ ich der weidenden Herde”, “I have followed the grazing flocks”. This seems to be a very favorable activity for the composer in as much as he represents this part with a functional I chord that has a happy expressive power. This impression keeps going on with the inflectional phrase that assigns the function of the beginning harmony G Major as I and ends with a tonic prolongation in mm.12. Text supports this positive expression “Mein Hündchen bewahret mir sie,” “watched over by my dog”. Music represents third verse of the stanza gives a sense it will be an exact repetition of music which represents the first and second verse. As the music illustrates, the third verse of the stanza is the exact repetition of the verse 1 specifying “Ich bin herunter gekommen” “I have come down here” as a neutral valence which is represented a positive valence harmony. However, after this point, we have seen a subject free and closure free one beat discontinuity whose impression is C Major or A Minor tonality that transits the music expression into a somewhat sad impression of music and text. As a discontinuity in overall phrase, music is in the B minor and text feeling specifies a strangeness or being unaware of an action which is somewhat negative. At this point though I think of the overall weight of the impression of this last verse on the perception of overall stanza. At some part of music like a cadential phrase might have more weight on the overall expression of a musical phrase. This seems to be an option which is taken seriously though I don’t deal with it in the present work. Another point, we have seen a PAC like ending here but it is in the tonicized discontinuity phrase rather than the onset of the present part. Overall music has a positive valence with text until the 4th verse, and 4th verse transits the expression from positive valence to negative valence.

Third Musical Closure

The third musical closure that begins with the 21st bar is quite like the second one but in different tonality that is revealed in the 17th bar of second part of the second closure: C Major. The third musical closure corresponds to the ending of the third stanza. In the beginning of the melody as the onset discontinuity of the piece, there is a joyful harmony with the lyrics “Da steht von schönen Blumen, Da steht die ganze Wiese so voll.”, “The whole meadow is so full of lovely flowers;” is represented with a functional I chord that has a happy expressive impression. Music represents third verse of the stanza takes a tonicization discontinuity transpose the tonality Fm dorian first with the verse “Ich breche sie, ohne zu wissen, I pluck them, without knowing”. Then, we have an abrupt decrease in tempo (TP) from 72 to 63 emphasizes the sad expression “Wem ich sie geben soll” “to whom I shall give them” with Fm. I see this chord as a “i” temporal chord as the next chord goes to C Major as the Inflection phrase of the tonicized discontinuity. Another discontinuity takes place in mm.27 from F minor to C minor by way of C Major of Fm tonality as the ffith degree chord of the tonality derived from harmonic or melodic minor. This transmission can be called a transposition from C to Cm, too that I don’t prefer here. And this discontinuity from Fm to Cm in the last two bars of the present section prepares the inflectional phrase of the next section without subject and cadence position.

Fourth Musical Closure

At this part first Time phrase abruptly increases with sforzando dynamics that represents a feary reality that shows all things what protagonist explained about herds, meadows, flowers are dream and he is closed at somewhere locked. I think this is the most subtle part of the composition. Even if it is quite subjective what I will interprete now, I believe Schubert was thinking in that way. What happens here with Cm is given a sense it is a functional “i” tonality chord but then with Ebm chord, first Cm chord introduced at the beginning of the phrase turns out to be “ii” chord retrospectively. This part represents that what protagonist lived was not real (tonality was not Cm). Then, a transmission chord as augmented sixth that reveals the scary reality all explained are dream so far then it resolves to the specifier of the inflectional phrase of the present part that is D major chord. This part explains the reality that he is locked in a shelter. The Eb chord comes later further clarifies the tonality Gm null subject and null cadence phrase that never takes place on the realization but strongly implied.

Fifth Musical Closure

The fifth musical closure corresponds to the ending of the fifth stanza. In the beginning of the melody as the onset discontinuity of the piece, there is a joyful harmony with the lyrics “Es stehet ein Regenbogen, Wohl über jenem Haus!”, “There is a rainbow above that house!”. This seems to be a positive valence for the composer in as much as he represents this part with a functional I chord that has a happy expressive impression that keeps going on with the inflectional phrase that assigns the function of the beginning harmony G Major as I and ends with a tonic prolongation in mm.42. In the third verse, there is a negative valence text and positive valence musical representation that transmits the third verse to fourth one as a discontinuity in overall phrase, music is in the B minor and text feeling specifies a gloomy expression as the woman she loves moves away somewhere far away from the protagonist. Just like what happened in the second musical closure that represents the second stanza, we have seen a PAC like ending here but it is in the tonicized discontinuity phrase rather than the onset of the present part. Overall music has a positive valence with text until the 4th verse, and 4th verse transits the expression from positive valence to negative valence

Sixth Musical Closure

The sixth musical closure is an exact repetition of the first one and as a representation of the sixth stanza of the poem. In the beginning of the melody as the onset discontinuity of the piece, there is a sad harmony with the lyrics “Hinaus in das Land und weiter,” “To distant regions and beyond,”. As opposed to lyric of the first stanza, lyrics of this part seem to be highly depressed, and the sadness of the harmony makes overall expression of music considerably gloomy in the onset discontinuity. From the predicate position of the piece, a droopy harmony comes to an end with another sad impression in the first tonic prolongation. This part is accompanied by the lyrics “Vielleicht gar über die See”, “perhaps even over the sea.”. These negative valence melody and lyrics make the overall impression mournful here. From the second discontinuity as tonicization of the main tonality to second tonic prolongation, overall prolongs the negative valence in harmony that is because of the tonic prolongation with Em. However, it is interesting to get the impression music moves forward and extended with a harmonic variation makes feel good at the tonicization and it is repeated with two times of lyrics “Vorüber, ihr Schafe, nur vorüber!” “Move on, sheep, move on!”. Finally, it comes to an end with a minor tonic chord which is sad and accompanied by a grieving text “Dem Schäfer ist gar so weh.” “Your shepherd is so wretched.”