Universiteit Leiden

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Teresa Proto

Teresa Proto


Dr. T. Proto
+31 71 527 2125

Teresa Proto is a Researcher at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics.

More information about Teresa Proto

Fields of Interest

  • Interaction between musical and linguistic structures in vocal music 
  • Isochrony in language and music
  • Metrical structure and cognition
  • Interference between Romance and Germanic languages     


I am a postdoctoral researcher in the project Knowledge and Culture, subproject Text setting. The expression ‘text setting’ denotes the process of aligning textual units to musical units in creating and/or performing vocal music. What is interesting about text setting is that native speakers (who are active participants in their singing traditions) have clear intuitions as to how to map a text onto a tune, despite the lack of explicit training and the difficulty implied by the coordination of the various abilities involved. How do people do this? My contribution to answering this question consists of an empirical study of individual singing idioms and natural languages.


2014-present: Post-doctoral Researcher in the NWO Horizon Project “Knowledge and Culture” (Leiden University & Meertens Instituut). 

2013-2014: EURIAS Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (Wassenaar). 

2011-2012: Junior Fellow at the Collegium de Lyon (Lyon). 

2008- 2010: Post-doctoral Researcher on the project “Musical and Metrical Text-setting in Songs” at the the laboratory Structures Formelles du Langage (CNRS/Université Paris 8, France). 

2004-2007: Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics and Philology at the University of Siena.

Key Publications

Proto, T. (2015) ‘Prosody, melody and rhythm in vocal music: The problem of text-setting in a linguistic perspective’. In: B. Köhnlein / J. Audring (eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 2015 [AVT 32]. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Proto, T. / Canettieri P. / Valenti, G., eds. (2015) Text and Tune. On the Association of Lyrics and Tune in Sung Verse. Bern: Peter Lang.






Proto, T. (2014). Studio ecdotico, linguistico e musicologico dei ‘Geisslerlieder’. Sulle tracce di una tradizione orale. Göppingen: Kümmerle (Göppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik).

Proto, T. / Dell, F. (2013) ‘The structure of metrical patterns in tunes and in literary verse. Evidence from discrepancies between musical and linguistic rhythm in Italian songs’. Probus – An International Journal of Latin and Romance Linguistics 25. 1-34.

Proto, T. (2013). ‘Prominence matching in English songs: a historical perspective’. Signa. Revista de la Asociación Española de Semiótica 22 (special issue on sung verse). 81-104.

Proto, T. (2013). ‘Singing in German: text-setting rules and language rhythm’. In: V. Galatà (ed.) Atti IX Convegno Nazionale AISV (Associazione Italiana Scienze della Voce). Roma: Bulzoni. 9-10.

Proto, T. / Russo, M. (2013). ‘Interferenza germanica e frammentazione linguistica della Galloromania: modelli diglossici e bilinguismo nei Pariser (altdeutsche) Gespräche (Conversazioni di Parigi)’. In: E. Casanova Herrero / C. Calvo Rigual (eds.) Actas del XXVI congreso internacional de lingüística y filología románicas, Valencia, 6-11 septiembre 2010. Berlin: de Gruyter. 469-488.

Russo, M. /Proto, T. (2011). ‘Interférences phonologiques et métriques : les rapports entre le français médiéval de France et l'anglo-normand’. Anuar de lingvistică şi istorie literară 51. 361-379.


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL postdoc

Work address

P.N. van Eyckhof 3
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 3.03b


  • Opgenomen in intern register
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