Event Title

Signs of Music: How Does Music Mean?

Location

Bobo Room, Hodgin Hall, Third Floor

Start Date

8-11-2017 12:30 PM

End Date

8-11-2017 1:30 PM

Description

The purpose of this presentation for the 2017 Shared Knowledge Conference will be to summarize the study of how real-world objects become meaningful and to apply this process of acquiring meaning to music. How music comes to “mean” is a question that has been a central feature of musical performance, composition, and theory for centuries, if not millenia. This relatively new theory, called semiosis, offers new, more detailed tools for examining the process of how objects are able to signify. Few listeners (if any) would doubt the existence of meaning in music. Both attached to and, as this presentation will argue, inseparable from the complex process of hearing music is the equally complex process of interpreting music. The interpretation of music comes in many forms: music might be described qualitatively, quantitatively, narratively, metaphorically, etc. This presentation will attempt to describe how music moves from the “pure” conception of its simply qualitative features to an interpretation of how its features relate to concepts in a convention- or law-governed system. In short: how a sound acquires the potential to become meaningful. The first part of this presentation will describe the semiotic process as conceived by C.S. Peirce. The second part will describe how the signs of music manifest in varying degrees of representation, called Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness, using aspects of a theory of musical signs as presented by the semiotician Eero Tarasti. The third part will use a more detailed theory described by the musical semiotician Juha Ojala on how music, in the stage of Thirdness, moves through the semiotic process to become a sign that is capable of signifying.

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Nov 8th, 12:30 PM Nov 8th, 1:30 PM

Signs of Music: How Does Music Mean?

Bobo Room, Hodgin Hall, Third Floor

The purpose of this presentation for the 2017 Shared Knowledge Conference will be to summarize the study of how real-world objects become meaningful and to apply this process of acquiring meaning to music. How music comes to “mean” is a question that has been a central feature of musical performance, composition, and theory for centuries, if not millenia. This relatively new theory, called semiosis, offers new, more detailed tools for examining the process of how objects are able to signify. Few listeners (if any) would doubt the existence of meaning in music. Both attached to and, as this presentation will argue, inseparable from the complex process of hearing music is the equally complex process of interpreting music. The interpretation of music comes in many forms: music might be described qualitatively, quantitatively, narratively, metaphorically, etc. This presentation will attempt to describe how music moves from the “pure” conception of its simply qualitative features to an interpretation of how its features relate to concepts in a convention- or law-governed system. In short: how a sound acquires the potential to become meaningful. The first part of this presentation will describe the semiotic process as conceived by C.S. Peirce. The second part will describe how the signs of music manifest in varying degrees of representation, called Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness, using aspects of a theory of musical signs as presented by the semiotician Eero Tarasti. The third part will use a more detailed theory described by the musical semiotician Juha Ojala on how music, in the stage of Thirdness, moves through the semiotic process to become a sign that is capable of signifying.