In the borderland between song and speech

Vocal expressions in oral cultures

Edited by Håkan Lundström and Jan-Olof Svantesson

With Anastasia Karlsson, Siri Tuttle, Arthur Holmer, Inga-Lill Hansson and Yasuko Nagano-Madsen

In the borderland between song and speech


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-9-1985-5776-3
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Lund University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: July 2022
  • BIC Category: Sociology & anthropology, The arts / Folk & traditional music, Ethnic studies, The arts / Theory of music & musicology, Society & social sciences / Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Native American Studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Asian Studies, LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General, MUSIC / Ethnomusicology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural, Ethnic Studies, North & Central American Indigenous Languages, East & Southeast Asian Languages, Music, Anthropology, Language & Linguistics, Theory of music & musicology, Linguistics
  • Series: Lund University Press


This is a study of vocal expressions in the borderland between speech and song, based on performances from cultural contexts where oral transmission dominates. Approaches drawn from perspectives belonging to both ethnomusicology and linguistics are integrated in the analysis. As the idea of the performance template is employed as an analytical tool, the focus is on those techniques that make performance possible. The result is an increased understanding of what performers actually do when they employ variation or improvisation, and sometimes composition as well. The transmission of these culture-specific techniques is essential for the continuation of this form of human communication and interaction with the spirit world. By comparative study of other research, the result of the analysis is viewed in relation to ongoing processes in society.


1 The borderland: singing or speaking or both? - Håkan Lundström and Jan-Olof Svantesson
2 Kammu vocal genres (Laos) - Anastasia Karlsson, Håkan Lundström, and Jan-Olof Svantesson
3 Athabascan vocal genres in interior Alaska - Siri G. Tuttle and Håkan Lundström
4 Seediq canonic imitation (Taiwan) - Arthur Holmer and Håkan Lundström
5 An Akha shaman performance (Thailand) - Inga-Lill Hansson and Håkan Lundström
6 Waka and Ryu¯ka performances (Japan/Ryukyu) - Yasuko Nagano-Madsen and Håkan Lundström
7 Performance templates: method, results, and implications - Håkan Lundström and Jan-Olof Svantesson


Håkan Lundström is Professor Emeritus of Music and Society at Lund University
Jan-Olof Svantesson is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Lund University

In the borderland between song and speech

Edited by Håkan Lundström, Jan-Olof Svantesson

Hardcover £25.00 / $36.95

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