Friday, February 09, 2007
The Semantics of Music
Dave Munger has a post about whether music conveys meaning like language does. He explains an experiment by Stefan Koelsch, et al, a team at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. The short explanation: music can convey some meanings the same as language. But I recall someone pointing out that no one has been able to write music that says, "Go get a gallon of milk, tomorrow." Or "I would have left if she spoke again." You may argue that the first example is done every day with commercial jingles, but those rely upon visuals or accompanying words to get the meaning across. And musical subjunctives only work in incredibly deep analyses that won't be universally understood (or even culturally understood).