Towards an Acoustic-Semantic Space of Extreme Metal Vocal Styles

* Presenting author
Day / Time: 19.03.2024, 15:20-16:00
Room: Neuer Saal
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Typ: Poster
Abstract ID: DAGA 2024/470
Abstract: Extreme vocal techniques typical for metal, e.g. growling or screaming, are characterized by low harmonicity and high roughness and associated with expressive dimensions like "aggressiveness" [Tsai et al., 2010]. Based on audio features, classification into broad style categories is possible [Kalbag & Lerch, 2022]. Which audio features are associated with the perception of emerging expressive techniques/stylistic devices that go beyond previously known categories remains open.Short phrases were extracted from 105 metal vocal tracks, 10 pilot-rated by subjects for pairwise similarity (45 comparisons). The resulting similarity matrix serves as basis for a perceptual similarity space computed using multidimensional scaling (MDS). In another pilot experiment, free verbal associations are collected for all 105 excerpts.Preliminary analyses reveal a three-dimensional similarity space whose first major axis represents the contrast between harmonic vs. more inharmonic/rough singing (Harmonic-to-Noise Ratio: r=0.837, p=0.005; Spectral Complexity: r=-0.959, p<0.001). While the second perceptual dimension shows no correlations with extracted sound features, the third dimension relates to the position of the higher formants (e.g., F2: r=-0.855, p=0.003). When projecting the verbal associations into the acoustic space, descriptions such as "demonic," "scratchy," "powerful," or "angelic" are located at specific positions.