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Characterization of Pitch Intonation of Beijing Opera

Title Characterization of Pitch Intonation of Beijing Opera
Publication Type Master Thesis
Year of Publication 2013
Authors Chen, K.
Abstract Beijing Opera is a Chinese traditional art that has been developing for several hundred years. The music of the Beijing Opera is quite distinct, without much influence from the west. One of its distinct characteristics is the pitch intonation that the singers do and in this thesis we have developed an analysis methodology for studying it. From a collection of audio recordings of sung arias we extracted the vocal pitch contours of the automatically detected vocal segments of the recordings and computed a pitch histogram for each aria. From these pitch histograms we studied the intonation by analyzing the peak distributions. Since all the melodies are organized in reference to a tonic, or keynote, we also had to identify the tonic in each aria and normalize the histograms to it in order to compare all the histograms. We were able to study the distinct intonation of the notes fa and si, comparing it with the western equal tempered intonations. We also studied how the pitch histograms can be used to characterize the different role types of the Beijing Opera.