Musical Accent

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Musical Accent


in linguistics, one of the means of emphasizing the stressed syllable in a phonetic word.

Musical accent makes use of melodic characteristics differing in tonal quality and complexity, for example, rising, falling, rising-falling, falling-rising, and double-peak tones. These tones can be produced at different voice registers: high, low, or middle. In languages with musical accent, there is a given set of possible melodic characteristics for the stressed syllable, which serves to differentiate the meanings of words. A stressed syllable, or a mora (the minimal unit of measure in quantitative verse), may serve as a unit of measure in the realization of melodic characteristics. Musical accent differs from the melodic component of word stress in languages with monotonic stress, in which the type of melody accompanying a stressed syllable is not phonemic.

Languages with musical accent include Vietnamese, Slovenian, Swedish, and many Sino-Tibetan and African languages.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Rivers had started at the first of those musical accents, as if a thunderbolt had split a cloud over his head, he stood yet, at the close of the sentence, in the same attitude in which the speaker had surprised him--his arm resting on the gate, his face directed towards the west.
There was unobstructed admittance on that side also; and at the door sat my old friend Nelly Dean, sewing and singing a song; which was often interrupted from within by harsh words of scorn and intolerance, uttered in far from musical accents.
It is such a musical accent. I loved his voice so much, he taught me to say a few Scottish phrases.
Parker and Stone have demonstrated their subversive brand of humor since 1997 on the animated "South Park" and the 1999 movie musical "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut." Robert Lopez (credited here alongside the duo for music and lyrics), brings a dose of the musical-comedy knowhow he demonstrated as co-scribe on "Avenue Q," while Casey Nicholaw (who co-directed the show with Parker and choreographed) has never met a musical accent that couldn't be punched up by a broad gesture, as evidenced by his work as choreographer on "Spamalot" and choreographer-helmer of "The Drowsy Chaperone."
After five years exploring the hip-hop/drum 'n' bass jazz interface, Pine is now ready for another musical accent, this residency marking the premiere airing of material from his forthcoming Back In The Day album.
Tonight, however, at Scott's the musical accent is decidedly British, with Kenny Baker's Dozen, still great after 40 years.
There's been such a hoo-ha recently about whether the Americans will understand Cheryl Cole's thick Geordie twang on the US X Factor, but it's a cracking, almost musical accent, brilliant to listen to and better fun to imitate.
She hadn't been around to witness Alton's original choreography, but she did go back to look at Gene Kelly's dancing in the movies--"with eyes of today," she hastens to point out in her musical accent, a legacy from Argentina by way of Paris.
Theatrical prospects appear mild at best, although older auds may respond to the comedy-drama's sweet sentiments and musical accent.
In stark contrast to a vocabulary of erratic twitches and primal contortions--telling details made potent by Rousseve's immeasurable performing talents--these new sections (the beginnings of a future REALITY work tentatively titled The Jazz Project) revel in the pleasures of the eight-count phrase and the obvious musical accent. Slithering and careening around the stage in juicy circular patterns, Rousseve exalts in the elegant strains of Billy Strayhorn and the unadulterated delight of a little shimmy, a little shake, and a little soft shoe.
Wheeldon's response to music can be subtle, as when a double musical accent is underlined once by heel clicks, then left as counterpoint to legato movement.
Ian Ocampo and Denise Parungao, paired once more after their much applauded pairing in 'Carmen,' are sharp, almost athletic, minding musical accents with precision.