Re: Let's have a test on chord grammar (Alexandra Hettergott )

Subject: Re: Let's have a test on chord grammar
From:    Alexandra Hettergott  <a.hettergott(at)WANADOO.FR>
Date:    Mon, 30 Apr 2001 23:55:54 +0200

(I prefer this one ...) Martin Braun wrote : >There are just no clear semantic signals in music, and >syntactic signals are missing altogether. 'Syntactic signals' in speech exist (only) in relation to an external (structural) reference system -- you might easily have such thing also in music ... So the 'inversions' as for a triad, i.e., sixth chord (1st) and six-four chord (2nd), might be sort of corresponding to the 'inflections' of (flexible) words (characterizing 'grammatical' categories / 'syntactical' relations, conformal to the respective reference system), likewise as you have 'inversions' and 'retrogrades' in dodecaphonic music, plus their 'mirroring', (analogously) corresponding to (inflected) word form and / or order in speech sentences ; or one might also think of the conclusive (terminative) character of different (final) cadences in traditional music in this context. 'Semantics' is due to the reference to some (external) meaning, conventionally relating to (the context of) a given (general) acoustic / graphic pattern, which [the meaning] might yet intra- / inter-linguistically differ (as will pronunciation ...). In music, references are given in many contexts : the (musical) 'quote' of Richard Wagner's 'Tristan'-chord or the (musical & literal) 'allusion' to Alexander Zemlinsky's 'Lyrische Symphonie' in Alban Berg's 'Lyrische Suite', the 'Dies ira'-citation in Hector Berlioz' 'Symphonie phantastique', the (musical) signature of J.S. Bach (among others) by virtue of (German) tone letter encoding (i.e., 'B [Bb]-A-C-H [B]'), B. Smetana's (musical) 'Vltava' depiction, the numerous bird song transcriptions in the work of Olivier Messiaen, the various Variations on Nicolo Paganini's '24th Caprice', or, in common jazzy manner, on George Gershwin's 'The man I love' ... Yet by means of modern technology, this (re)contextualization has become even more eas(il)y (manageable), where examples might be found reaching from (the most dada-like) 'musique concrete'-collages over acoustic 'soundscapes' to techno music ... As to 'dada' in general, the link should be even more easily to draw as 'concrete poesy' (e.g., Gerhard Ruehm, Ernst Jandl, ...) does yet aim at the acoustic (or visual) 'material' aspect of language elements rather than their (potential) syntactical implications ... Note that 'syntax' here refers to the (basic) linguistic aspect, yet you might easily have a 'musical' one in using one and the same (sonic) element repeatedly as, e.g., 'motive' or 'refrain' or 'punctuation mark' ... :ah

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