Introductory Remarks on the Colloquium:

The Colloquium - announcing by this term that intensive discussion should be a major feature of the meeting - intends to convene scholars from semiotics, in general, and musical semiotics, in particular, and from many disciplines (such as musicology, sociology, psychology, ethnology, philosophy, communication studies, media studies, cultural studies, literary studies, comparative studies, and other related fields). Our goal is to investigate theoretical and especially practical problems of musical signification in all types of music.

The platform to enable inter- and transdisciplinary exchange and discussion shall be provided by semiotics, i.e. the theory of signs, while the aim to describe and to examine the social relevance of musical production, distribution, and consumption, as indicated by the formula "Signs, Music, Society", asks for focussing on fields like pragmatics, socio-semiotics, musical communication, context dependence, and the like. By this, it shall also be tried to transcend the somewhat isolated position of musicology, musical aesthetics, and musical theory within the humanities, i.e., by showing that even the problems of the study of musical structures, musical forms and technical systems, musical signification and musical aesthetics are indispensably linked with socio-practical features and conditions: The meaning of music cannot be fully examined and understood without taking account of its syntacto-semantic as well as pragmatic dimensions.

In such view, one cannot neglect either, that musical meaning is very often unfolded in composite signs systems (word and music, dance, film, musical theatre, and other forms of art, as well as feasts, liturgies, rituals, etc.), and in different media (discs, tapes, broadcasts, AV-media, and now even "new" electronic media). The latter point stresses the problem of musical reproduction detached from its original performance in space and time, and how this influences, or changes, musical meaning. It stresses, moreover, the problems of disposal and (cultural as well as economical) hegemony.

When the "sociality" of music and musical signification becomes of central interest, there also appears the question of their "historicity", not so much in terms of traditional history of music, but as an indicator of (particularly present-time) cultural, social, sociological, medial, technological, etc. change, or, in other words: the diachronic viewpoint - hitherto not a main focus of musical semiotics - is as important, and in many respects even more important, for the study of musical meaning as the synchronic one. The examination of "codes" needs to be complemented by a thorough investigation of code changes including all presuppositions and consequences.

In this framework, we invited scholars from all over the world to join us for discussing questions of musical semiosis, texts, representation, functions, impact, communication, experience and related topics from the viewpoint of their "sociality" as well as "historicity". Has there ever been a "day the music died", as a famous lyric once claimed?

(Jeff Bernard)