Measuring Rhythm Regularity in Verse: Entropy of Inter-Stress Intervals

:speech_balloon: Speaker: Artjoms Šeļa (1, 2) and Mikhail Gronas (3)

:classical_building: Affiliation: (1) Institute of Polish Language (Polish Academy of Sciences), al. Mickiewicza 31, 31-120 Kraków; (2) University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu, Estonia; (3) Dartmouth college, Hanover, NH 03755, USA

Title: Measuring Rhythm Regularity in Verse: Entropy of Inter-Stress Intervals

Abstract: Recognition of poetic meters is not a trivial task, since metrical labels are not a closed set of classes. Outside of classical meters, describing the metrical structure of a poem in a large corpus requires expertise and a shared scientific theory. In a situation when both components are lacking, alternative and continuous measures of regularity can be envisioned. This paper focuses on poetic rhythm to propose a simple entropy-based measure for poem regularity using counts of non-stressed intervals. The measure is validated using subsets of a well-annotated Russian poetic corpus, prose, and quasi-poems (prose chopped into lines). The regularity measure is able to detect a clear difference between various organizational principles of texts: average entropy rises when moving from accentual-syllabic meters to accentual variations to free verse and prose. Interval probabilities, when taken as a vector of features, also allow for classification at the level of individual poems. This paper argues that distinguishing between meter as a cultural idea and rhythm as an empirical sequence of sounds can lead to better understanding of form recognition and prosodic annotation problems.

:newspaper: Link to paper