A Theory of Musical Semiotics

A Theory of Musical Semiotics

Eero Tarasti
Foreword by Thomas A. Sebeok
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/1/1994
Format: cloth 352 pages, 4 b&w photos, 141 illus.
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-35649-9
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Description

“Since [Tarasti’s] is unquestionably the most fully developed narrative theory in the literature, this book is an important landmark . . . ” —Music & Letters

Eero Tarasti advances a semiotic theory of music based on information provided by the history of Western music and by various sign theories. A Theory of Musical Semiotics provides a model for the semiotic analysis of both musical structure and semantics. It introduces English-language readers to musical narratology, which has been largely the province of European researchers.

Author Bio

EERO TARASTI is Professor of Musicology at the University of Helsinki. One of the world's leading semioticians, he is author of Myth and Music, a biography of Heitor Villa-Lobos, and many articles published in journals of musicology and semiotics.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Thomas A. Sebeok

Preface

Acknowledgements

Part One: Theoretical Background

I. In Search of a Theory
1.1 A Brief Critical History of Musical Semiotics
1.2 Reflections on the Logic of Musical Discourse
1.3 The Problem of Narrativity in Music
1.4 Toward the Definition of Modalities: Signs in Opera
1.5 On the Truth in Music
1.6 The Theory Itself in an Abridged Form

II. Musical Time
2.1 Music in Micro-Time: The Role of Memory
2.2 Music in Macro-Time: Music Models throught the Ages

III. Musical Space

IV. Musical Actors
4.1 Ernst Kurth as a Precursor of Musical Semiotics: Steps toward the Definition of Actoriality in Music
4.2 From Musical Subjects to Theme-Actors

Part Two: Analyses

V. Semiosis of the Classical Style: Beethoven’s “Waldstein”

VI. Narrativity in Chopin
6.1 Polonaise-Fantaisie and the Idea of Narrative Program
6.2 Writing a Modal Grammar: Chopin’s Ballade in G Minor

VII. Music and Literature
7.1 The Case of Obermann: Franz Liszt and Marie d’Agoult in Switzerland
7.2 “Apres un reve”: A Semiotic Approach to the Study of Musical Performance

VIII. Music and Visual Arts: Pictures and Promenades—A Peircean Excursion into the Semiosis of Musorgsky

IX. The Semiotics of Symphonism: A Deconstruction of National Meanings in Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony

X. Toward the Modern Scene
10.1 Debussy’s Impressionism in the Prelude “...La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune”
10.2 Minimalism and Anti-Narrativity

Conclusion

Appendix: “Apres un reve”
Glossary
Notes
Bibliography
Index