Abstracts A--C

Alla Ablova (Conservatory of Petrozavodsk, Russia)
The Ringing Stones (Lithophones): On the Problem of the Interpretation of Archaeological Musical Monuments

Lithophone (gr. lithos - stone) are the most ancient functioning layer of modern musical culture. We can find not only natural stone musical phenomena among them but also man-made musical instruments. There are stone disks, plates, bells of different kinds; sole and forming complex constructions. The uniqueness and remarkable artistic potentials of lithophones are connected to a large extent with their origin. Lithophones belong to the World of Nature and at the same time they have become a part of the culture of mankind since prehistoric times. Sonic stones were assimilated by man functionally as well as esthetically, the latter turned out to be one of the most important issues. The ringing stones are wide-spread all over the world. They can be found in: Central, Eastern, Southern-Eastern, and Western Asia; Africa; South America; Europe.

Over the last decades two sonic stones were discovered in Karelia (Russia). Both boulders are well-proportioned megaliths; they produce clear melodic sounds. The examination of the ringing stones (lithophones) is connected with fundamental research problems, as well as with some special problems.


Victoria Adamenko (Rutgers University, East Brunswick NJ)
New Ritualism and Communicative Aspects of Circular Notation

The motivation for geometrical notation implies the possibility of communication, yet perhaps chimerical, between a composer and his audience. Circular scores by Crumb, Stockhausen, Oliveros, and others, use symbolically coded messages and involve ritualisation. Paradoxically, the sign of the score is not available to the listeners unless the score is viewed. The mysterious way in which the hidden message is supposed to come to the listeners seems to be inherent in the 'mythological' nature of such works. According to Jung, the structure of Self is also circularly shaped. As the old magical tool for ordering, the circle gains the function of 'ordering' the chaos of contemporary culture, which is 'filtered' through the composer's Self. Through the unifying shape of the circle composers try to overcome the fragmentation of modern mentality. Many compositions owe their 'sacrality' partly to the presence of those circles, and partly to the sacred texts and ritualistic spells. Scores by Oliveros require new rituals for their performance and convey the sacred aspect most directly, for she actually believes in the practical healing power of a mandalic circle.


Rimantas Astrauskas (Lithuanian Academy of Music, Vilnius)
Changes of Musical Signification in Lithuanian Traditional Calendar Game-Songs

The paper deals with the question of musical signification in traditional calendar folklore of winter solstice in Southern Lithuania. An analysis of the syntacto-semantic structure of calendar tunes reveals a typical determination of musical functioning in the frame of ritual action. Rhythmical musical patterns connected with kinetic functions of rituals and the importance of exclamatorial intonational formulae as communicative means with transcendental addresses are typical examples. The process is governed by religion, mythology or system of beliefs. The role of growing musical significance is seen in the cases when a ritual is losing its importance. Changes could be seen in the increased emotionality and subjectivity of expression, the unrestrained rhythm pulse, and in changes in the shouting address, from intentional transcendency to the expression of individual feelings.


Alenka Barber-Kersovan (Arbeitskreis Studium Populärer Musik, Hamburg/Halstenbek)
What is Slovenian in the Slovenian Rock Music

The paper proposed will deal with the cultural identity of the Slovenian rock music. In its center will stand the textual, musical, iconographical and psycho-social analysis of a record of the Slovenian group "Agropop", a popular group from the mid-eighties. The production of this group condenses in an ironical way the economical, social and political problems which led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the ethnical wars following.

As most Slovenian rock groups at that time, also "Agropop" worked with "heavy" signs of the Slovenian cultural/national identity. These signs and symbols can be found on different levels of the Slovenian culture ("art" versus "popular culture"; "culture" versus "politics") as well as in different forms of expression (music, art, literature). In the speech proposed, some of these signs and symbols will be presented in different socio-aesthetical settings (folk music, Slovenian national anthem, tourist advertising) and traced back to their origins. My lecture will be illustrated by music, cover design, iconographical material, and video.


Tildy Bayar (San Francisco, CA)
Culture from Music: Three Readings

In 1977 Jacques Attali, economist and adviser to French President Mitterrand, hailed the analysis of musical structure as a multi-disciplinary theoretical tool which should enable theorists of all stripes to predict future social trends ("Music is prophecy. Its styles and economic organization are ahead of the rest of society because it explores, much faster than material reality can, the range of possibilities in a given code"). Attali did not, however, posit an explicit methodology by which such predictions might be drawn. In my paper I utilize interpretive possibilities suggested by musical semiotics (most notably the work of Jean-Jacques Nattiez and Benjamin Boretz) to test Attali's predictions about the future of music, and to make further predictions based on the music of the present day.


Thomas Böhm (Universität Giessen)
Konstruktion von Notation. Nelson Goodmans Theorie der Notation und ihre musikologische Relevanz

Goodman stellt in seinen Sprachen der Kunst eine Theorie der Notation auf, als deren Paradebeispiel er die musikalische Notenschrift westlicher Provenienz heranzieht, da sie alle der fünf Erfordernisse (zwei syntaktische und drei semantische), die er an ein Notationssystem stellt, erfülle.

Unter Berücksichtigung von Diana Raffmans Auseinandersetzung mit und schließlich Weiterentwicklung dieser Notationstheorie soll diese im Hinblick auf ihren möglichen heuristischen Wert für die Musikwissenschaft diskutiert werden, bzw. sollen anhand dieser "fachwissenschaftlichen" Erprobung Rückschlüsse auf die Theorie selbst gezogen werden.

Goodman, Nelson (1997). Sprachen der Kunst. Entwurf einer Symboltheorie. Frankfurt/M.
Raffman, Diana (1993). Language, Music, and Mind. Cambridge, MA


Massimo A. Bonfantini (Mailand) & Marco Vitali (Neapel)
Zwischen Performance und Schrift: Jenseits von Cage
Nachdenkintermezzo und Entretien mit Wort und Musik

8 Gedankenaustäusche
Erster: Die Harmonie und Plato
Zweiter: Stillschweigen für eine Sprechstimme
Dritter: Cage: Programmierung gegen Montage?
Vierter: Peter Pan gegen Apollo und Dionysos
Fünfter: Die Abduktion und die Sandmalerei
Sechster: Die Erfindung der Erfindungsgabe ist experimentell und dialogisch
Siebenter: Musik und Video-Essay
Achter: Die Revolution und das Violoncello: Programm und Improvisation


Irmgard Bontinck (Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien)
Die Stellung des Klaviers im Musikleben des 19. Jahrhunderts

Der Weg des Klaviers zu dem beherrschenden Instrument sowohl des privaten als auch des öffentlichen Musiklebens im 19. Jahrhundert läßt sich als eine Form der historischen Mediamorphose begreifen. Sie ist nahezu so bedeutsam wie die elektronische Mediamorphose im 20. Jahrhundert. Hinsichtlich der Entwicklung neuer Technologie, deren künstlerischer Nutzung und ihrer gesellschaftlichen Resonanz offenbaren sich Verknüpfungen von Klavierbau, Übergang von Manufaktur zur Industrie, veränderte Marktstrategien, Virtuosentum und Produktion, sozialer Stellenwert des Instruments im allgemeinen und bezüglich der Stellung der Frau im besonderen, musikalische Funktion des Instruments, Kompositionsweise, Repertoire der Musikverlage, pädagogischer Literatur und der sozialen Etablierung der gleichschwebenden Temperatur.


Aage Brandt (Aarhus University)
Tonal Structure, Rhythm, Voice, and the Human Semio-Cognitive Evolution

Musical semiotics still needs a proper analysis of the core structures of musical form. If there are musical universals, such as cognitively grounded harmonic, melodic, and rhythmical patterns, they should be analysed both inherently and in the context of evolutionary scenarios selecting for constructional blendings of these patterns according to genres that satisfy specific (ritual) collective doings rooted in social life and related to creative mental and expressive display. This paper will present an outline of a dynamic semio-cognitive theory of tonal structure, rhythm, and melodics, and will propose a generic distribution of structural integrations over symbolic fields in a social habitat.


Chandler Carter (Hofstra University, New York)
Signaling Truth and Lies: How Mozart and Stravinsky use Music Signs to Manipulate Theatrical Distance

As a topic for exploring the subtle, but important relationship between the musical sign and listener, I will examine how Mozart and Stravinsky manipulate theatrical distance in their staged works.

The metaphorical distance between audience and theatrical performer depends upon the recognition of certain conventional signs and contexts: costumes, sets, proscenium, accents - and in the case of the musical performer - musical conventions. For parody and dramatic irony, a comic composer uses overtly artificial musical gestures which call attention to themselves as musical objects and thereby signal the unreality of the staged act. However, the composer who wishes to lure the audience into sympathy with the staged action creates musical signs which do not call attention to themselves, but instead disappear into a subjective wash of expressiveness and emotion. An analysis of how Mozart and Stravinsky thus promote and mitigate theatrical distance reveals insights into the elusive nature of the musical sign.


Marcello Castellana (E.H.E.S.S. Paris & S.I.R.F.A.S. University of Metz)
The Analytical Conditions of Musical Signification

Scientific approach to musical signification nowadays starts from evidences in empirical analysis to undertake a theoretic construction that allows the semiotician to unify the separate theoretical framework elaborated for each group of musical works. In order to build up a unified theory of signification, the semiotician needs to recognize conventions and codes that allow communication: in music signification, basic semantic entities are strictly connected to the "materials" involved in the musician's work, and for this reason their main characteristic is a strong homogeneity. Furthermore, the musical semiotic object, which can constitute a code-based message, has an analytic nature (not synthetic), just because musical structure does not have several general modes of signification (as natural language has). Indeed, in Western tonal music this unity is particularly evident: like visual art (e.g. perspective), musical art has found a natural-based system aesthetically and perceptually working as a "good" reference for communication: the system has a natural tendency to stability, and in a general sense the "consonance/dissonance" category rejoins the "stability/instability" one. Starting from this point of view, tonal changes are perceptively and aesthetically more or less tense in proportion to the degree of strength by which the stability of the natural tendency of the system to reach a state of equilibrium is disrupted.

But what happens when, as in the music composed all along the first half of our century, a cultural/natural-based system, like the tonal one, "disappears" as the code that referentiates listening? Moreover: is it possible to make music without a convention linking a referential code? Is it conceivable to build up an entire cultural and synthetic convention in order to create a new way to listen to music? I will argue that, starting from a Kant-inspired point of view, the conventional weight of a musical code is necessarily analytic and goal-directed. The stability of a code is proportional to the recognizing of the qualitative type of musical structure, and its "dynamic" signification arises only when these aesthetic conditions have been fulfilled.


Yuri N. Cholopow (Moscow Conservatory)
The Sign-system of Harmony as a Mirror of its Historical Evolution

Some kinds of Symbol Systems touch the live essence of music. Such is the Symbol System of Harmony; it includes fundamentals conceptions of musical thinking in New Time; this fact largely influences music analysis. I will argue on the correct Symbol System of Harmony vs. functional signs; on the (mistakenly widespread) Degrees System; and will give a demonstration and comparison of this two systems.

The Symbol System of Harmony is not a single on (as with Riemann); there are some of them according to the epochs of music history:
1. The Symbol System of Classical Harmony (basically, there are three classical signs).
2. The Symbol System of Romantic Harmony (signs of enlarged tonality and, especially, of new techniques of romantic harmony).
3. The Symbol Systems of Harmony in the 20th century (chromatic tonality, signs in hemitonic scales, and others; problems of serialization and sonorics).

(These are preliminaries to a book project: sign encyclopedia of music.)


Eric F. Clarke (University of Sheffield)
Perception or Semiosis?

This paper is concerned with competing explanations for how it is that listeners find meaning in music. From a variety of semiotic traditions has come the idea that meaning is articulated and communicated by means of codes of more or less arbitrariness. By contrast, from the psychology of perception comes the idea that we pick up the meaning of the environment by virtue of a direct sensitivity to the systematic structure of perceptual information. While this idea has generally been confined to relatively simple perceptual situations, it is possible to extend and develop the idea so as to embrace complex cultural phenomena. Fundamentally, then, the question is whether there is any systematic distinction between what has been called "perceptual meaning" and signification - and if no distinction can be drawn, whether the framework of semiotics or that of perceptual theory provides the more effective and exciting explanation. This paper will tackle the issue in the context of a small number of short illustrative musical examples.


David Crilly (Anglia University, Cambridge)
Is the Application of the Principles of Semiology to Music Analysis Founded upon a Philosophical Mistake?

In the latter half of the nineteenth century the foundations of philosophical thought shifted towards a positivistic stance; the basis of which was a rejection of the metaphysical in favour of a more scientific, logically verifiable mode of enquiry. Wittgenstein, developing the "picture theory" of meaning, used language as the focal point of his investigation, and the emphasis on logical structure as the focus for detailed study permeated the field of musicology. Positivistic approaches to analysis viewed musical information as objective data about which precise statements were possible. Ian Bent claimed that, "since the arts fall within the range of social sign-systems, the 'semiological' analysis of music is defined as aiming at strict scientific objectivity." This positivistic stance precludes any reference to subjective judgement on the part of the analyst. Yet, with reference to Grice's distinction between "natural" and "non-natural" meaning, this paper argues that musical structure is best viewed as a kind of language-game, since its elements are contentless and interact by means of self-imposed rules which give the work the illusion of purposiveness. Viewed in this way, music acquires a kind of narrative structure which is determined only by our imaginative involvement with it.


James R. Currie (Columbia University, New York)
"Viva la libertà". An Investigation into Tensions in the Interactions between Musical Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century Music

Scholars of late eighteenth-century music frequently make connections between the ideas of the Enlightenment and the functioning of musical style. Thus, it is accepted that, like different individuals, liberated and peacefully coexisting in the ideal Enlightenment state, seemingly irreconcilable musical styles come to a kind of democratic agreement or compromise in late eighteenth-century music. Musical styles in this period are envisioned as signs processing both flexibility and identity; they voluntarily get involved in fluid musical discourses which encourage interplay with other stylistic signs, and yet what they signify does not become confused as a result of this cross fertilization. Through an examination of learned contrapuntal styles in Mozart's Piano Concert, K. 459., this paper questions and problematizes these stereotypical assumptions about how style functions as a sign in the late eighteenth century. It shows that learned style, because of its extra-musical associations with religion and authority, is much less flexible - it finds benign Enlightenment interplay difficult. As the paper shows, such inflexibility was characteristic of musical signs earlier in the eighteenth century. That such signs interrupt the later discourse is therefore interpreted as evidence of underlying tensions and contradictions within the ideology of the Enlightenment.

Abstracts D--H | Abstracts I--L | Abstracts M--O | Abstracts P--S | Abstracts T--Z