Is Language a Music?

Is Language a Music?

Writings on Musical Form and Signification
David Lidov
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/9/2004
Format: cloth 272 pages, 50 figures, 1 bibliog., 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-34383-3
Bookmark and Share

 Add to Wish List 
Buy from Amazon


Is Language a Music? presents broadly ranging explorations of musical reference that address how and why language cannot be the only measure of meanings. Music, the author insists, is pervaded by significations, but often their erasure is as pertinent to artistry as their construction. This volume’s 15 essays in musical semiotics are grouped into sections that treat issues in structural description, present alternative views of theoretical foundations, consider the elaboration of gestural references to form musical discourse, explore some stylistic issues in 20th-century music, and examine the resistance to reference which is esteemed in the tradition of absolute music.

Musical Meaning and Interpretation—Robert S. Hatten, editor

Author Bio

David Lidov is a composer whose theoretical investigations were an early and influential source of the musical semiotics movement of recent decades. He teaches at York University in Toronto.


"David Lidov’s new book is highly recommended. . . Not only has Lidov’s collection of essays established a secure base in the imposing terrain associated with the study of musical signification, but it also has laid some vital programmatic depots over that terrain that will aid future treks across the rugged musico-semiotic landscape." —Music Theory Spectrum

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

1. Prelude-Is Language a Music?
Part I. Structuralist Pespectives-Introduction
2. Structure and Function in Repetition.
3. The Allegretto of Beethoven's Seventh.
4. Mediation as a Formal Principle in Music: Three Examples.
Part II. Semiotic Polemics-Introduction
5. Nattiez's Fondements.
6. Our Time with Druids.
7. Why We Still Need Peirce.
Part III. From Gestures to Discourses-Introduction
8. Mind and Body in Music.
9. Opera Operta: Realism and Rehabilitation in La Traviata
10. A Monument in Song: Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Beverley (Buffy) St. Marie.
Part IV. The Messages of Methods-Introduction
11. Bartok the Progessive.
12. The Art of Music Theory and the Aesthetic Category of the Possible
13. Technique and Signification in the Twelve-Tone Method
14. The Project of Abstraction in Painting and Music.
Part V. Resisting Representation-Introduction
15. Replaying my Voice Mail