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On the Grammar of Music

The direct comparison of music and language would work out better if
comparing music not to technical texts but to poems. The difference is
the purpose: Poems and music should entertain (admittedly a very short
definition of the "purpose" of art, add: edify, ... at your pleasure),
while technical texts should convey information, e.g., on how to repair
my car. In poems all sort of rule violations are found, even mixing of
languages (I think of German-Latin in "In dulco jubilo, nun singet und
seid froh", oh, I have had three languages in this sentence...); but
rule violations are only perceived as such if there are rules. Sure,
this goes down to dada, and maybe Martin Brown would then say music has
the grammar of dada. Others might reply that this could hold for free
jazz, ... and the debate would enter the realm of personal tastes.

- Christian Kaernbach