Sunday, April 13, 2008

How well do you understand the raj?

I'm still on my way home from the International Studies Conference on Hmong Studies where I presented a paper on my recent experiments on music and language cognition in Hmong culture. It was a wonderful conference and I'll write more about it soon. In my presentation, I brought up an experiment I did with a number of people who were skilled at understanding messages on the raj. In the experiment, I took a number of common phrases and cut them up into smaller and smaller segments, down to the level of two successive pitches. I presented these to the subjects and asked them to tell me the words that they understood. This allowed some insight into the listening strategies they use. I wanted to play some examples during the talk, but I ran out of time. I've made a webpage with some examples and I'll try to make something a little more extensive soon. On the page, you can play the sound files and reveal the words that the musician played. Let me know what you think. On to the music ...

Note: The page seems to work better in Firefox than Internet Explorer. If you do access it with IE, it might take longer than usual for the page to load due to the javascript needed for the media.