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| Introduction | Account | Critique | Bibliography | Endnotes |
Ever since popular music studies acquired an institutional face there has been a serious gulf between what can be loosely termed as the 'musicological' and the 'cultural studies' approaches to our field of enquiry. This gulf has been the subject of much discussion and it is essential that we try to solve the problems it causes. Therefore, the publication of a book resulting from seven years of serious theoretical rumination between two musicology professors and explicitly aimed at bridging that epistemological gap is an important event. Indeed, its very title, as well as its aims, will no doubt attract the attention of anyone interested in the integration of music with other forms of knowledge and experience. These historical aspects of the publication have made the task of reviewing Music and Cultural Theory a serious business too. It has been an arduous and daunting task because the book is hard to read, not so much because of its rather esoteric vocabulary and somewhat convoluted writing style, as because the very nature of its topic presupposes coverage of a wide range of approaches and a correspondingly wide degree of interdisciplinary familiarity on the part of the reader. As just one of many musicians, music educators and musicologists keenly interested in semiotic, cultural and social theories relevant to music, I must admit that I was unable on my own to provide informed criticism on every important problem in the book, and that I had to consult trusted colleagues when, as was often the case, I experienced difficulty in understanding or in accepting the authors' line of reasoning. 1
In order to make distinctions between my own thoughts and those of the book's authors as clear as possible, I will first present a brief uncommented summary of the main points in the book as I understand them. I will then attempt a critique of the ideas put forward by Shepherd and Wicke, paying particular attention to questions of theory and method.
The book's main aims are stated on page 1. They are 'to feed musicology into cultural theory, to consider the implications for cultural theory of a viable theory for the social and cultural constitution of music as a particular and irreducible form of human expression and knowledge'. The authors see their initial task 'to interrogate those forms of cultural theory which have been central to its development since the late 1950s' and 'to determine where the application of cultural theory has had some success in grasping affect in music as socially and culturally constituted'. This book should in other words help cultural theorists to understand music and help musicians or musicologists to understand the work they do from the viewpoint of theories of culture and society.
In chapter one, the authors basically argue that the few musicologists to have dealt with 'the problem of affect and meaning in music', have, in one way or another, misrepresented the nature of musical communication. 'Only one music theorist, Leonard B. Meyer', they claim, 'has consistently confronted' the difficulty (p.11), although his 'analyses of "classical" music are compelling only because the consequences of social mediations to this tradition are revealed intuitively and through omission' (p.14). Shepherd and Wicke then take on scholars of cultural studies who, like most musicologists, they argue, have 'a concept of music as a "thing"'. For scholars from both disciplines, we are told, 'either music contains meaning in its material qualities as a phenomenon autonomous in relation to social and cultural processes, or it acts... as an inscrutable black box, the role of whose internal characteristics in the transmission or creation of social and cultural meanings is neither considered or understood' (p.15). The reason for this sad state of affairs is then attributed to the idea that Saussure's concept of the arbitrary sign is inapplicable to music. For example, Nattiez and Kristeva are seen to be so dominated by notions of the arbitrary sign as to be incapable of providing any satisfactory theories of meaning in music. 'The way forward', say the authors, 'is suggested by way of the more structuralist dimensions of Saussure's work' (p.23). However, a few pages later the authors point to 'incipient tension' between, on the one hand, Saussure's idea 'that the sounds of words can have no necessary or logical connection to their customary meanings' (p.26) and, on the other, what the authors see as the intrinsically 'iconic' nature of music.2 This polarisation of 'arbitrary' and 'immanent' modes of signification becomes one of the book's recurrent themes.
The next four chapters, constituting over one third of the entire text, are devoted almost entirely to reviewing the work of a selection of cultural, literary, linguistic and psychoanalytical authorities. The gist of this section is that although these scholars may be credited to varying degrees with insights of varying validity about some aspect of language, society and conceivable links between music and either of these two, none of the work discussed can really be endorsed as substantially contributing to an overall theory of music as a form of human communication. One idea the authors do embrace is the structural homology, especially as found in the work of Willis and Shepherd, its importance heralded as the 'first time a theoretical protocol existed through which the social and cultural meanings of music, as articulated through music's internal, technical characteristics, could be grasped and understood within the framework of cultural analysis' (p.38). Another set of ideas the authors clearly find relevant to their aim is Althusser's inclusion of subjectivity and relative autonomy in theories of ideology (pp.48-55).
The first part of chapter four (pp.56-62) reviews the work of selected psychoanalytical and socialisation theorists, seeking explanation of the complex relationships between subjectivity, sound, language, body and emotions. However, since this section concludes that we are 'no nearer understanding the precise order of relations between music as a socially constituted signifying system and subjects as likewise socially constituted' (p.63), the authors have to move on, this time to Lacan and the 'linguistic production of the subject'. Once again, although laudatory about Lacan's opening up of 'the territory we need to enter to move forward with our project' (p.69), the authors conclude 'this line of thought for understanding music' to be 'effectively dashed as a consequence of Lacan's arguments' (p.70), more specifically by Lacan's and Althusser's failure to 'theorize the link between ideology and subjectivity in terms of the material dimensions of signifying practices' (p.71). The next port of call is Kristeva who, the authors argue, can help correct this failure by 'expanding the gendered charging of the semiological field beyond language to include the body... as one source for the acquisition of language and the formation of identity'. Kristeva's notion of the chora3 is presented with some enthusiasm as a key concept which, we are told a few pages later, leads her to deduce that music 'is not a system of signs' because its 'constitutive elements do not have a signified' (p. 91). Consequently, we move to other authorities, in particular Middleton, and to the question of 'primary' and 'secondary' signification, because it is now emerges that the authors intend to concentrate on a 'second semiology' of music related to 'primary signification', a semiology in which 'the characteristic mode of operation of'... '"asemantic" elements as they act through music's own semiological moment... will lead us to an understanding of how sounds in music act as structures' (p.103).
This prioritisation of 'primary signification' is at the centre of the book's intellectual strategy. By presupposing acceptance of states of 'Otherness' in its various guises (p.99),4 the authors allow themselves to draw dividing lines between culturally specific types of affective connotation in music and music as sound in direct relationship to the body. This positioning leads them to qualify work discussing connotative aspects of musical signification as 'privileging methods derived from linguistic analysis', as reproducing 'the hegemony of language', and as rendering 'music - as music - a second-class citizen' (p.108). This view clearly implies that discussion of musical connotation is by definition linguistic, that discussion of 'secondary' signification is equatable with a second-class notion of music, and that such discussion contributes little or nothing to an understanding of 'primary signification' in music. Having discarded discussion of 'secondary' signification as irrelevant to their aims, Shepherd and Wicke bring back the structural homology and, with reference to Middleton, Bierwisch, Knepler and others, relate it to 'gesture' and 'the biogenic elements in music [which are] called forth, subsumed, embedded and articulated in the homologous and symbolic relations taken to obtain between music as sounds and states of awareness as elements of signification'. In so doing, they also confirm their agreement with Volek about the intrinsic 'structural iconicity' of music (p.114). This train of thought leads them to posit the theory of music as a 'medium' rather than as a signifying system, the 'signifier' being dubbed an 'inappropriate [concept] in approaching questions of signification in music'. 'Sounds acting as a medium', the authors argue, 'become materially involved in calling forth from people elements of signification in a manner which sounds as signifiers do not' (p.117). This theoretical distinction leads them to opt for the examination of 'music as a distinctive signifying practice of which individual pieces are evidence rather than to approach the question of its affectivity through the analysis of individual pieces which might, in their totality, be thought to constitute music' (p.122).
It is at this point that Zuckerkandl5 is put forward as main provider of 'insights into the ways in which music can gather up and reveal to us the structures of the internal and external social worlds and the relations obtaining between them' (pp.122-129). Some of Zuckerkandl's ideas about tonality and metre in European 'classical' music are given considerable space (pp.129-136) and taken as theoretical foundation for the central position of the 'passing present' in music as a whole. [Non-verbal] 'auditory events are auditory time and space', the authors conclude: like a gesture, which 'is the structure or state of a process and does not just replace it',6 'auditory time and space (time-space) can only be articulated (as a unified field) inalienably through the articulation of auditory events in relation to one another' (p.135). Shepherd and Wicke call this 'cusp' of coincidence or consubstantiation between structure, process and articulation in music the 'sonic saddle', a central notion in their final theoretical model of musical signification.7
Before presenting their own solution to the problem, the authors briefly revisit musicology and the problems of using language to explain musical signification, adding that 'language cannot "reach out" to musical experience in any convincing or useful manner' (p.143). Walser is criticised for defining 'discourse' in a manner incompatible with the authors' own understanding of the term.8 He is further rebuked for using the opinions of fans and musicians as one way (of several) to confront the issue of meaning in music (pp.144-146) because, according to Shepherd and Wicke, '"ethetic" relations", "vocal and kinetic rhythms", music's "synaesthetic relatedness to the physical field of movement' can only be explained by leaving behind the analysis of musical experience as it is grounded in sound as a sonic medium' (pp.143-144). We are moreover warned that 'standard categories of musical production such as "timbre", "volume", "mode", "harmony" and "rhythm"', are 'of little assistance in specifying the cultural character of those sounds in music' and 'cannot lead to analyses which are socially and culturally sensitive' (pp.146-7).
Having dismissed the need to consult musical cognition as evidenced via the intermediary of language used by music's producers and users, having refuted the viability of musematic analysis in relation to 'primary signification',9 and having cursorily dealt with concepts of musical syntax, the authors seem satisfied that enough virtual territory has been evacuated for the expansion of their own theories. Chapter 7 starts with the 'workings of music's "internal" structures, those of its "matter" or "timbre"' (p.153).10 Obviously, with the 'signifier' and 'secondary signification' jettisoned in favour of the 'medium' and 'musical matter' or 'timbre', the authors still have to deal with what constitutes that 'matter' (='timbre') and how it can be understood as meaningful. It is to this end that cuckoo calls, drum rolls and sea swell (all of which are apparently taken as exemplification of such 'matter' or 'timbre'), together with their 'homologous evocations' of pastorality, 'militariness' and 'oceanness' respectively, are used to illustrate the 'iconic' relationship the authors posit as similar to those of 'primary signification' in music (pp.153-158). Musical sounds may, the authors admit, 'have been conventionalized through constant and repeated usage', but, they hold, must 'function in a structural manner if they are to function at all in being implicated in processes of meaning construction' in music.
It is with this heavy emphasis on what the authors have variously referred to as the 'biogenic', 'iconic' and 'immanent' elements of music that their concept of the 'sonic saddle' is presented in some detail.
Evocation can only occur in the continually unfolding present through the tactile dimensions of sound, the matter of sound as it is presented to us. It is only this way that the sounds of music can operate through a technology of articulation. The concept of the 'saddle' of the continually unfolding present... is thus crucial to understanding the articulation of meaning through music. Meaning in music is articulated through the continually unfolding saddle of the medium, which is to say, the sonic saddle of the present... As sound-image, the saddle occupies a position in processes of the articulation of meaning through music similar to that of the signifier in processes of the articulation of meaning through language. (pp.159-160)
Shepherd and Wicke insist on the primacy of 'timbre' or 'musical matter' in relation to other elements of music (by implication less synonymous with 'musical matter') and expose the syntactical qualities of 'difference through attraction' and 'repulsion' that are highlighted by the apparent consubstantiation of structure, process and articulation in the 'saddle'. They also introduce the hierarchy of 'first', 'second' and 'third order awareness' within the 'saddle', levels of awareness that seem to range from the timbral and 'iconic' ('first' or 'second') to conventional relationships between articulation and connotation ('second' or 'third') in order 'to emphasize the corporeal and somatic dimensions of meaning construction through music' that they 'believe to be fundamental to meaning construction through music' (p.171). In short, the authors have replaced the signifier with 'the "sonic saddle" as the continually unfolding sound-image derived from the medium and experienced as the material ground and pathway for the investment of meaning', while the 'concept of the signified has been replaced by the rather more general notion of "elements of signification"' (p.170). They point out that 'states of awareness' can exist independently of 'elements of signification' because the latter can be affected to different degrees by internal (individual) or external (social, public) factors. This interplay between, on the one hand, the subject's internal world the material binding between 'saddle' and 'elements of signification', internal states of awareness and being and, on the other hand, the external world with its materiality (including the sound medium) and its sociocultural processes (including practices of signification) is unfolded in a series of flowcharts. This exposé constitutes the theoretical nub of Music and Cultural Theory (pp.169-177).
After revisiting differences between language (qualified recurrently as 'cerebral', 'cognitive', 'rational', 'denotative', etc.) and music ('corporeal', 'affective', 'emotional', 'iconic', etc.) in the light of their theoretical exposé (pp.178-203), the authors devote a substantial part of book's last eleven pages (5%) to a backtracking exercise in which they seek to dispel impressions of reductionism and to re-integrate their own ideas with other views of the relationships between music, the individual and the external world.
The topic 'Music and Cultural Theory' is vast and must be radically reduced or distilled to fit into a book of standard length. Criteria of inclusion, exclusion and focus are therefore vital to the understanding and success of the authors' project.11
The cultural theory of this book is really 'Cultural Theory', i.e. the university (sub)discipline established in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. As both concept and institution in this sense, 'cultural theory' is virtually unknown in most nations of the world, even in France.12 To the majority of readers who are neither British nor au fait with the mainly British institution of Cultural Theory, the book is much more likely to be interpreted from its title as dealing with any theory, formulated anywhere in the world at any time in history, that can shed light on music as a cultural phenomenon. Important input into the discussion of music and culture from, for example, Africa, the Arab world, Argentina, China, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Russia and Sweden is absent, as are European medieval, renaissance, rationalist and romantic theories relevant to the topic.13 A similarly narrow ethnic and historical focus raises concern about whose music the 'cultural theory' of the book relates to, since its rare and cursory references to identifiable musical events are drawn exclusively from the European 'classical' or Anglo-American pop-rock traditions. If the book aims to put forward 'a viable theory for the social and cultural constitution of music as a particular and irreducible form of human expression and knowledge' (p.1), then readers have a right to know not only that the majority of cultural theories about the majority of music are not included in the book but also why such exclusion has taken place. In other words, the restricted meaning of key terms used by the authors, both in its title and throughout the book, needs to be clearly motivated as well as stated.
Accepting, solely for reasons of space, the narrow focus and the mainly unmotivated restrictions of the title's meaning, a second problem arises within the narrow focus on a particular type of cultural theory. There is, so to speak, quite a lot of Saussure, Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, Althusser, Lacan and Kristeva, but no Bourdieu, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Jakobson or Jameson. In addition to substantially influencing 'Cultural Theory' since the late 1950s, these latter scholars have also discussed various aspects of subjectivity, mind, body or society that might contribute towards our understanding of music. Similarly, explanation is lacking as to why semioticians or linguists relevant to the development of 'Cultural Theory' since the 1950s, such as Eco, Greimas, Hjelmslev, Lothman, Morris and Peirce, are all excluded from discussion while Saussure is not. Moreover, due to lack of original language source references, it is impossible to tell if the authors are referring to early or to late Barthes and Kristeva, such distinction being essential since both these scholars were to revise their views on issues relevant to music and cultural theory quite considerably.14 I claim no expertise in this field, but I get the impression that the cultural theory (in the authors' sense of the term) of this book is further restricted to literature either written by or influencing those working in English-language university institutions of cultural studies during a very short period of postwar history. No substantial motivation for this additional restriction is offered.
Turning to my own area of study, musicology, I find the authors' unproblematised exclusion of writings relevant to their task perplexing, particularly since (i) they are both titular musicologists and (ii) one of the book's explicit purposes is 'to feed musicology into cultural theory'. Their first musicological exclusion zone (of ten) is history, in that nothing written before World War II is referred to at all. It is as if St. Augustine, Tinctoris, Zarlino, Gallilei, Kircher, Kepler, Mersenne, Mattheson, Rameau, Quantz, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Wackenroder,15 along with a whole host of other scholars, had nothing relevant to say, be it agreeable or disagreeable, about music, its structures, its articulation and their relation to the body, the soul, the emotions and the external world, social or natural. Assuming therefore, in line with the previous restriction of 'cultural theory', that by 'musicology' the authors must mean the academic institution of the same name, everyone just listed can be excluded. Frankly, this delimitation of the term constitutes a considerable loss to our understanding of music and culture, not least because, as Hood (1997:56) remarks, many medieval theories of music show acute awareness of relationships between music and bodily movement.16 The same implicit definition does not, however, explain musicological exclusion zone two and the absence of such institutionally recognisable musicologists as Francès, Kretzschmar, Ling, Lissa, Maróthy, Mellers, Rosen and Zoltai, all of whom are in different ways relevant to the authors' project.17
Rehoused in exclusion zone three we find those music sociologists whose work contains important spin-offs for cultural theory, for example Raynor, Silberman and Max Weber, while zone four is occupied by ethnomusicologists and music anthropologists of equal relevance, such as Chernoff, Emsheimer, Lomax, Merriam and Nettl. Musicological exclusion zone five is populated by those discussing music and human communication from neurological, therapeutic or biological perspectives, such as Alvin, Geck and Young, zone six by musical psychologists and educationalists like J B Davies, Gabrielsson, Green, Small and contributors to Bruhn et al. (1981). Zone seven houses those writing about the body, kinaesthetics and dance, for example Steinman or Bartenieff and Lewis, while zone eight is inhabited by pertinent authors whose work is mainly published in other languages than English, French or German, for example Fabbri, Klingfors, Ling, Stefani and Vega.18 In exclusion zone nine we find those composers and musicians who have had plenty to say about music, its meanings, its effects, its social and political functions, etc., for example Cutler, Fabbri, Eisler, Henze, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Theodorakis, Wagner and Zappa.19
The tenth and final musicological exclusion zone belongs to music semiotics and semiotic music analysis. Although Walser and myself are involved in this area of study and mentioned on several occasions by Shepherd and Wicke, some central figures are conspicuous by their absence. Since the authors are concerned with semiotics and musical articulation it is puzzling that they bypass the work of Stefani on that very subject, equally perplexing that, in dealing with semiotics and the relation between music and myth, they ignore the work of Tarasti.20 Moreover, given the authors' preoccupation with structural homology and with what they regard as the 'iconic' essence of the musical 'medium', it is baffling that they do not see fit to mention the extensive work of Karbuicky on the indexical character of musical signification. Nor is the work of the Prague school referenced (e.g. Jiránek), nor that of Kivy, S Davies or Rosen,21 nor that of Björnberg, Brackett, Lacasse or Tamlyn. The common denominator of much of the work excluded in zone ten is of course that it features the semiotic analysis of actual pieces of music, an activity which the authors of Music and Cultural Theory explicitly preclude from their own project. However, although such restriction of method is understandable in a publication targeted at an English language 'Cultural Theory' readership, it does not explain musicological exclusion zones one through nine. These lacunae are to a considerable extent attributable to general problems of semiotic theory and method.
Eco (1990:256, ff.), referring to Peirce and Morris, emphasises the necessity of integrating syntax, semantics and pragmatics in the study of signification.22 He points out how rhetoricians and sophists, philosophers and anthropologists, even the most abstract and theoretical among them, have throughout the ages concerned themselves not just with the relationship between expression and content but with the intended meaning and interpretations or effects of statements.23 Eco further holds that pragmatics in no way implies depriving semiotics of an object of study because it incorporates the totality of the construction of meaning.24
Music and Cultural Theory lacks the semiotic objects and pragmatic concretion that are widely held to be essential to semiotic inquiry. Indeed, the authors plainly state that they will not only steer clear of actual musical statements but also abandon discussion of musicians' intentions, musicians' verbal reference to musical structures, listeners' associations and reactions, etc. as irrelevant to their particular purpose. The absence of these central aspects of semiotic theory and method radically undermines the epistemological credibility of the authors' stated purpose. Such absence leads furthermore to a less convincing and less readable book because the rich palette of musical experience is sadly missing from its pages. There is an almost clinical absence of the wonder of music the urge to move different parts of our bodies in an infinite variety of ways, the sensation of goose pimples, the welling up of tears, the evocation of childhood, of special places, faces and moods, the excitement of wondering which note the soloist is going to aim for next, not to mention the toil, mental effort, passion and exhilaration involved in making music. Personally I found it almost impossible to recognise myself and my own relationship to music in any tangible way while reading the book.
In the very few instances where the authors do refer to actual music or to its effects upon us, the relationships between musical sound and its interpretation are taken as semantically read and with reference to pragmatics in no more than highly generalised theoretical terms.25 For example, the famous guitar riff in 'Satisfaction', mentioned three times, is qualified on each occasion as 'sexual',26 rather than as, for example, 'obstinate', 'insistent', 'driving', 'forthright', 'full-bodied', 'pushing and pulling', 'to and fro', 'round and round' descriptors provided by other individuals of their experience of the same sound. The authors' solely sexual reading of the sound might be explained by reference to one line in the song's lyrics and to culturally specific social connotations of the song for certain individuals of a certain age in certain places at certain times in history, i.e. a reading that the authors should, according to their own terminology, place at the 'secondary' rather than 'primary' level of signification, the latter being more compatible with such descriptors as 'insistent' or 'to and fro'.27 However, the problem here is not so much one of choosing an inapposite 'reading' to illustrate structural homologies but of equating forceful bodily movement of a repeated or oscillatory character with sex, as though human beings had spent more time in uninspired metronomic copulation than in a combination of climbing, digging, dragging, defecating, hacking, hauling, hewing, hoovering, horse-riding, jumping, lifting, kneeling, pulling, pushing, sawing, cycling, scrubbing, shovelling, stooping, sweeping, etc.28 The tendency, seemingly quite widespread among English-language subculturalists of rockologist persuasion, to reduce such corporeality to its sexual constituents is understandable coming from members of the leisured classes living with a legacy of sexual repression inside late capitalism, because we/they have been socialised into identifying forceful movement in the lower body with sport or, more commonly, with sex, or with mass disseminated images of these activities.29 However, if this culturally specific restriction of lower body movement in relation to sound is, as suggested, only part of the story in the particular case of the 'Satisfaction' riff in a particular historical context, then it is difficult to see how it can constructively inform quite generalised theories of musical signification in a much broader context. The problem is in other words not only one of inadequate attention to the pragmatic aspects of semiotics: it also involves the tendency to reduce concepts to one overriding set of many possible sets of traits attributable to that concept.
Reductionist tendencies in Music and Cultural Theory often arise when Shepherd and Wicke discuss the views of other writers. Since such discussion occupies large parts of their text and since it is not always clear to what extent the authors agree or disagree with the ideas under review, I felt ill at ease with their conceptualisation of body, femininity, language and music, even after reading the final chapter's disclaimers.30 There is no room to discuss these matters in any detail but having read, for example, the section 'Kristeva, Language and the Subject', with its discussion of the body, mother, the uterus, the asemantic, the symbolic versus the semantic, etc., especially as reported through secondary sources (pp.74-80), I was left with an indelibly reductionist impression of femininity which a passage from one of Kristeva's later works (1990: 33-34), rather than the book I was reading, was thankfully able to dispel.
We live in a culture whose sanctified notion of femininity is embodied in motherhood. But motherhood becomes a phantasm'... 'nourished by grown-ups, male and female. It does not so much concern an idealised primal mother as an idealisation of the indefinable relationship connecting us to her an idealisation of primal narcissism. When feminism lays claim to a new understanding of femininity, it seems to identify motherhood with this idealising error and thereby bypass the real experience hidden by the phantasm. The result is that motherhood is denied or rejected by certain avant-garde feminist groups, or that it is accepted, consciously or unconsciously, in its traditional form by the vast majority of men and women... I call the ambiguous principle which links [femininity] with the species on the one hand and on the other with the non-verbal or with the body as 'maternal' a 'catastrophe of identity'.
The catastrophe for women that results from such reductionism is that if they do not live up to the socially constructed phantasm of woman=mother=nurturer, then they will be regarded as either fallen or abnormal (Kristeva 1990:48). The resultant disaster for men is that as long as the full experience of what our society and culture, including some of its theorists, see fit to essentialise as feminine the non-verbal, the corporeal, the kinaesthetic, etc. , then we, by biological definition unable to experience motherhood within ourselves, will continue to be alienated from our own bodies, emotions and their social construction. In short, although I am in no way suggesting that the authors subscribe to the notion just criticised, even less condone its ideological implications, I think they have given too much space to reductionist notions of body and femininity, too little to refuting them.
Discussion of language sometimes runs into similar difficulties. Denotation and the arbitrary sign are put forward as the overriding traits of language and little or no problematisation is given to such aspects of linguistic signification as intonation, accentuation, speech rhythm and melody, vocal timbre, diction, phonation, volume, facial expression, bodily gesture, social rules, etc. (e.g. Bolinger 1989, Fonagy 1972). Nor is the issue of denotation through pitch addressed (tonemes), nor the frequent refutation by modern linguists of denotation's semiotic primacy (e.g. Cruise 1988, Harris 1981, Kress 1993).31 We are in other words presented with a reductionist and simplified Saussurean notion of language.
I have already suggested that the authors' restricted semiotic and musicological perspectives relate to the book's failure to mediate a sense of music. Such lack of musicogenic substance is also influenced by a reductionist view of our art. For example, what appears to be regarded as the primarily cerebral character of syntactical signification in 'classical' music seems to take no account of the fact that people fainted from sheer affect upon hearing a false recapitulation,32 nor of the cardinal importance attached to timbre, texture and to the beat during the ascendancy of the Central European 'classical' idiom.33 The same reductionist view of music semiotics can also be discerned in a more pervasive sense, in that virtually all aspects of musical signification theorised in the book seem to have been slimmed down to those that fit the authors' model, i.e. those easily perceived as evidencing a relationship either between sounds able to exist in similar physical form 'inside' and 'outside' what members of the same given culture regard as music, or that between sounds understood in the same way as music and their 'biogenic' effect on the human body. These two types of homologous relationship form the basis of reasoning behind the models of musical signification the authors present. I would call the former type 'sonic anaphone' in that there is a homologous relationship between the sound heard and what the same listener feels or understands, in sonic terms, by that sound.34 The latter type I would call either a 'tactile' or 'kinetic' anaphone, depending on whether the overriding perception was one of touch or movement, and assuming that the authors have not entered the realm of bio-acoustic universals.35 There are three main problems with this effective reduction of musical signification.
Firstly, I am unclear as to whether the authors are in fact concerned with bio-acoustic universals and as to where, if at all, they think a line can be drawn between, at one end of the scale, the response of the nervus vagus under sedation36 and, at the other end, experiencing a brook with its rural connotations on hearing the piano accompaniment to 'Wohin?' from Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin, or identifying a B52 bomber and feeling indignation at the carpet bombing of Vietnam on hearing Jimi Hendrix play The Stars and Stripes at Woodstock in 1968. In other words, some guidelines as to where bio-acoustics stop and musical meaning starts, a distinction essential to any theory of 'primary signification', should have been provided.
Secondly, although it is clear that musical sounds can be homologous with sensations of touch and movement (e.g. smooth and wavy, rough and jerky), it is dubious whether such synaesthetic or, rather, transmodal homologies are necessarily iconic.37 According to (my reading of) Peircean semiotics, where the concept originated, icons are, in simple terms, those signs sharing physical traits in common with what they stand 'for' or stand 'as'. Thus, while the sound of a recording of an Alsatian dog barking will usually be identified in terms like 'it's a big dog', that same sound is in fact iconic only to the extent that it is structurally and physically similar to that of a large dog barking in a similar way, i.e. the recorded sound is an icon of a physically similar sound. However, the relationship between the same recorded sound and 'large dog' is indexical, not iconic, because there is no similarity of physical structure between that bark and the dog in its entirety. The notion of 'dog' obtained from hearing the recorded bark relies instead on (i) previous knowledge that such barking sounds issue almost exclusively from large dogs, (ii) acceptance of the synecdoche that the mere sound of a dog barking, without representation of its snout, paws, tail, habits, character, etc., can represent 'dog' in its entirety. Other plausible canine attributes derivable from the same bark, such as big teeth, dog's breath or danger (or the nobility of 'a man's best friend'), lie at other levels of indexicality thanks to further links of causality or proximity. Applying these points of semiotic terminology to a well-known musical example, the relationship of the sound of the pianist's semiquaver arpeggiations in Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin to 'brook' are much less iconic than that of the recorded sound of a barking dog to 'dog', because, as Rösing (1977) has shown, there is very little demonstrable physical similarity between such highly stylised musicalisations of brooks and the sounds of appropriate brooks recorded and analysed for purposes of comparison. Nevertheless, since a culturally definable population is able to identify physical similarities between the sound of the piano arpeggiations and a small but significant subset of sonic properties belonging to certain types of brook small, contiguous, ceaselessly overlapping sonic events in quick succession inside the middle pitch range of audibility and forming repeated patterns of short duration , that part of the semiotic equation may be qualifiable as iconic. However, empirical evidence suggests that what sonically constitutes the kind of 'babbling' (as of a brook) perceptible in the sounds of the Schubert piano arpeggiations is also iconically relatable to, for example, fluttering (as of sails) or rustling (as of leaves).38 The iconicity of the Schubert sounds in relation to 'brook' is therefore as ambiguous as it is incomplete. At the same time, other essential, non-sonic, physical and corporeally experienceable attributes of apposite brooks, such as cold and wet, are absent, while their culturally specific connotations of idyllic rurality are of an unequivocally indexical character. Of course, Shepherd and Wicke are at liberty to redefine whatever terms they like and to extend widely accepted notions of iconicity to include non-arbitrary signification that exhibits no demonstrable similarity of physical structure, as in the case of transmodal homologies (tactile and kinetic anaphones). However, such revision of conventional wisdom at such a basic level of semiotic theory cannot be taken for granted and the authors should have explained such idiosyncrasies of terminology.
Thirdly, even if, with the terminological sleight of hand just discussed, the authors extend the concept of iconicity to cover all types of structural homology in music, no other musical sign type seems to enter into their field of vision or hearing. Episodic markers, style indicators and genre synecdoches,39 in all their possible forms and functions, are far more indexically than iconically constituted, and are all omitted from discussion. There is no room in this review to account for these complex aspects of musical signification, but if, as I would argue, episodic markers, style indicators and genre synecdoches are each as important as anaphones (structural homologies) in the mediation of musical meaning, then readers must resort to trust and good will if they are to accept the authors' quite generalised theories of musical signification.
It was in this spirit of good will that I earnestly hoped to find nuggets of wisdom in the book. I was delighted to register two related areas in which I felt that Shepherd and Wicke had managed to provide insights into music: (i) the relationship between language and music, (ii) the refinement of 'music's semiological moment'. Although the former suffers from lapses of reductionism, their argumentation, as I interpret it, about gestural consubstantiality between the hearing of a sound in the medium of music and, put crudely in my terms, the culturally modifiable bio-acoustic experience upon hearing it (what the authors call 'sonic saddle' and 'elements of signification') to be both convincing and potentially useful to the development of our understanding of some important aspects of musical signification. Similarly, their problematisation of the 'semiological moment' within the (socialised) individual hearing music raises important questions about what it is we consider music to be capable of communicating. This is where the final set of problems start.
In order to arrive at the presentation of their potentially productive theory of the 'semiological moment', the authors resort on several occasions to an intellectual scorched earth policy. For example, those who present ideas or information about the nature of musical meaning by doing the anthropological dirty work of interviewing fans and musicians are discarded as irrelevant to their project, while those who engage in the musicological and empirical donkey work of relating musical structures (the authors' 'medium' or 'matter') to the connotative reception of music are branded as responsible for making 'music as music a second-class citizen'.
'Music as music ' is a strange expression implying that some music is either less 'music ' or not 'music ' at all. The last time I heard it was in 1990 at a film music symposium in Siena when Morricone, a figure of some repute in both the popular and art music spheres, was rebuked by two professors of musicology for being a film composer rather than a composer of 'music as music '.40 Clearly, these Italian musicologists had scant knowledge of Purcell's, J S Bach's, Mozart's, Beethoven's or Verdi's ability to commute between varying types of musical signification. Through such lack of historical perspective, the two Italian academics were unashamed to act as keepers of the seal for an 'autonomous' aesthetics of music (as 'music ') in the institutions employing them to implement such an agenda. Now, I am in no way suggesting that Shepherd and Wicke would pooh-pooh Morricone in such an ahistorical fashion or consciously aim to propagate an 'autonomous' aesthetics of music. It is, however, clear that their notion of 'music as music ', their implicit disqualification of connotative aspects of musical signification as inferior ('second-class'), and their book's lack of historical perspective all bear striking resemblance to the professors' grounds for disapproving of Morricone who, as a film composer, must work with overtly connotative elements of musical signification. The two Italians and our two authors seem to agree that this kind of making or thinking about music is suspect. It is in this way that Shepherd and Wicke set up false states of antagonistic contradiction between types of musical signification that are integral and complementary rather than rankable as 'primary' and 'secondary' in a theoretical hierarchy. The authors' preoccupation with 'primary signification', in my mind a nebulous concept which became even more elusive by reading their book, may be justifiable, but answers to questions about musical meaning are far more likely to be found in integration than in antagonistic confrontation with other types of signification. For example, reverting to the Schubert piano accompaniments, it does not seem to have occurred to the authors that brooks (not people) babbling, sails (not washing) fluttering and leaves (not pages) rustling can all be corporeally internalised by any individual as virtually the same set of sonic, tactile and kinetic gestures, and thus contribute to an understanding of what the authors would call 'primary signification'. At the same time, the connotative and socioculturally specific values of a particular notion of 'brook', as evidenced in a certain style of music at a certain time and place in history for a certain population, are at least as important and as intrinsic to musical communication as the gestural common denominator just described. The question then arises as to why the book privileges one aspect of musical signification (the 'primary') at the expense of another and why it fails to grasp their symbiosis.
In confronting the obvious intellectual impasse of 'autonomous' music aesthetics as propagated to this day in many institutions of music education and research, we have two basic options. Option one is to present alternative musical and intellectual canons to compete with those that still rule the roost in many of those institutions. Option two is to use the study of music as a means of contributing to a re-integration of mind, body and soul and to the healing of our atomised bourgeois subjectivity by (i) defalsifying and reclaiming the music history of our own continent and people, (ii) ceasing to assume, consciously or unconsciously, that the structural, semiotic and aesthetic workings of our own musical cultures are valid for all humanity, (iii) giving equal status to all types of musical practice and signification, (iv) ensuring that our work as academics is constantly related to the musical and social world outside our institutions. With the exception of the final chapter (5%) and a few other sections in the book, the authors have tended to click their mice on option one. The overriding impression is therefore one of replacement and reversal rather than of renewal. It is as though the old idealist notion of 'autonomous' music, which highlights the 'suprasocial' narrative of the emotions through syntactical process and extensionality, had been replaced by one in which an equally decontextualisable 'body', mediated as 'timbre' and 'matter' through present-time intensionality, were the inverse order of the day. It therefore seems hardly fortuitous that musicological pride of place is given to such modernisers of bourgeois 'autonomous' music aesthetics as Zuckerkandl, Meyer and Langer, rather than to scholars such as Francès, Karbuicky, Ling, Mellers, Stefani or Tarasti. It is on the basis of such musicological preference that the authors attempt to concoct the 'essence' of music in purely theoretical terms, and repudiate the very notion of trying to distil theories of music from the multitude of its real constituent practices. Such undialectical epistemological alchemy, the hallmark of the metaphysical aesthetics of 'absolute' music (as 'music ') and the intellectual cornerstone of its institutionalisation when capitalism was consolidating its economic and ideological hegemony in Central Europe, inevitably involves the mystification of musical practices. Such mystification relies on the mythical notion of 'music as music ', be it formulated in the corporealist terms of subculturalist rockology or in its old guise as tönend bewegte Formen.41 It also obstructs attempts to integrate music not only with mind, emotions and body, but also with the entire sociocultural field of which music is an inextricable part. In short, although the authors unequivocally state in the final chapter that such integration is their intention, and although the 'external world' is at least featured in their theoretical model, large parts of the book set a very different agenda, more specifically one which facilitates the institutionalisation of popular music ('as music ') in accordance with, rather than in opposition to, the ideological rules of the game. This contradiction and the problems discussed earlier, together with some linguistic and terminological faux-pas, unnecessarily jeopardise what I believe to be the potential viability of the authors' theoretical models.42 Nevertheless, readers surviving the book's first three quarters may be able to glean some useful ideas from its last quarter. In particular, some aspects of the distinction between language and music, as well as the authors' theories of 'the semiological moment', may prove to be innovative contributions to the discussion of musical signification if they are given some empirical grounding.
Summing up this review, I am regrettably unable, for the following reasons, to recommend the book to any substantial readership. It cannot work as an undergraduate text on account of the esoteric language and convoluted style of writing. I cannot recommend it to postgraduates due to shortcomings in terms of subject restriction, definitions, terminology, reductionism and semiotic theory. I also fear that very few musicians and music educators will accept ideas from a book about music which contains no substantial reference to music nor to the experience of music. Finally, I am not convinced that the book provides a satisfactory account of cultural theory relevant to musicology, while I am as sure as I am troubled that the picture of musicology presented in the book for the edification of cultural theorists is not so much incomplete as downright misleading. I am truly disheartened at having to summarise my opinions in these terms because it is clear that the book is the result of much hard work and because the good ideas contained within it are so obscured by its problems.
Music and Cultural Theory is difficult to understand. I had to reread many sentences several times in attempts to fathom out what the authors were driving at. Even when I thought I had grasped their drift, I was often struck with disbelief, rushing to consult books, articles and colleagues for help in sorting out the confusion. Learning by such provocation is an arduous and circuitous route to knowledge and it is predominantly in this sense that reading Music and Culture can be a rewarding experience. I therefore recommend the book to confident, independent and interdisciplinarily experienced scholars endowed with lots of patience, perseverance, time to spare and critical spirit. Such readers should also be keenly interested in the topic as restricted by the authors, have access to many alternative sources of knowledge, be able to think clearly of music in its absence, be fluent in rare academic dialects, and possess previous experience of intellectual provocation as a positive way of kick-starting attempts to sort out their own ideas. Read in this way, Music and Culture could offer substantial contributions to the ongoing discussion of musical meaning.
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1. I would like to thank the following friends and colleagues for their patience, help, input and encouragement while I was working on this review: Sara Cohen (Liverpool), Franco Fabbri (Milan), Alessandra Gallone (Milan), Lucy Green (London), Dave Harker (Manchester), David Horn (Liverpool), Andrew Hugill (Leicester), Margit Kronberg (Göteborg), Dave Laing (London), Greg Lee (Hong Kong), Richard Middleton (Newcastle), Kay Richardson (Liverpool), Garry Tamlyn (Brisbane) and Marta Ulhôa (Rio de Janeiro). Although considerable input from all these people is incorporated in this review, they cannot be held responsible for the use or misuse of their ideas in this text.
2. I always thought Saussure meant that the sounds of words need not have any such connection to those using those sounds, and that one important aspect of etymological semiotics was to explain the necessary and logical connection between the sounds of words and their customary meanings. The problem of 'iconicity' is discussed later on in this review.
3. Chora = 'bodily site of the first signifying processes of the fetus' (p.76).
4. For a critique of concepts of the 'Other', see Tagg (1996).
5. Austrian musicologist, author of Sound and Symbol (1956, Princeton University Press).
6. Shepherd and Wicke (p.136), quoting Bierwisch (no page reference).
7. 'Consubstantiation' is my terminological interpretation of one important aspect of what the authors seem to mean by the 'saddle'. Originally used by Christian theologians in the exegesis of the Holy Trinity, 'consubstantial' simply means 'having the same substance'.
8. The authors base this critique on their interpretation of the Foucault's use of the term. What the authors actually have in mind is nevertheless obscure since they make no reference to any work by Foucault.
9. A little later on, the authors become even more adamant: 'the complexity and versatility of the sonic saddle demonstrate the ultimate futility of using concepts as the "signifier" or the "museme" to explain primary signification in music and, through that, secondary signification' (p.168).
10. The authors use of 'timbre' at this stage (p.153, ff.) is very confusing because it was thrown out with other 'culturally insensitive' categories a few pages back (pp.146-7) and has not been redefined.
11. Since criticism of focus forms a substantial part of this review, I have in an appendix included bibliographical reference to some of the most relevant works absent from Music and Cultural Theory. In order not to overburden this text with such references and in order to save space, works mentioned in this review, in particular those cited by Shepherd and Wicke, are not referenced in my bibliography. I have also only inserted parenthesised dates in the main text in connection with the citation of particular passages. Most authors I mention are listed in the bibliography together with reference to work of particular relevance.
12. In France itself, the French gurus of British 'Cultural Theory' are academically categorised as literary theorists, linguists, semiologists, sociologists, etc.
13. See, for example, Nketia (1974), Vega (1941), the Nátyaastra (India), or Jayadipura, Jakub, Wignyarumeska, Suryaputra and Wayan Rai (Indonesia, all cited in Hood, 1997:58). For further references to non-European theories of music and culture see, for example, the entries 'Arabic music', 'China', 'India' in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London, 1995). See also Peter Crossley-Holland's account of music in China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and the Arab world in The Pelican History of Music, volume 1 (ed. A Robertson, London: Penguin, 1960). As a musicologist resident in Sweden for twenty-four years, I have tried, without much success, to make the English-language community of popular music scholars aware of Scandinavian work of relevance to our field of enquiry. Of particular importance here is the work of Ling (1983, 1985, 1989, 1992).
14. Such inadequate source referencing is particularly misleading when the authors state that English Cultural Theory was influenced by Gramsci. That author's vast output is referenced merely as an English language selection published in 1971. Which of Gramsci's ideas on which topics remains a mystery. The distinction between early and late Kristeva is particularly relevant to the issue of essentialising femininity, a matter discussed later in this review.
15. Relevant extracts from work by all these scholars are available in Strunk (1952), except Kircher (1650), Kepler (1611) and Mersenne (1963/1636) - both cited in Ling (1983) -, and Mattheson (1739), also as cited in Zoltai (1970: 174, ff.). For relevant quotations from Quantz, see Klingfors (1991), from Rousseau, E T A Hoffmann, Wackenroder etc., see LeHuray & Day (1988).
16. Hood (loc.cit), referring to the work of Dr R Schumacher (no publication details given). For graphic illustrations of pre-rationalist notions of relations between music, mind and body, see the work of mystic Dr Robert Fludd (1574-1637) as quoted in Alexander Roob's Alchemy & Mysticism (1997, Köln: Taschen).
17. See bibliography for relevant work by these musicologists.
18. For a recent review of an important (Italian) book by Fabbri and for comments on the linguistic ethnocentricity of popular music studies, see Tony Mitchell's review in Popular Music 16/3: 315-317.
19. For an account of relationships between the musical work, sociocultural theory and political activity of Theodorakis, see Holt (1980'). For Wagner's ideas about music, see for example 'Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft' as reprinted in Strunk (1952: 876-903). Examples of writings by all other composers, except Zappa, are listed in the bibliography.
20. Tarasti, it should remembered, is highly influenced by Greimas and to some extent by the work of Propp.
21. The Davies and Rosen references are taken from Treitler (1997).
22. Put simply, syntax deals with aspects of signification bearing on the temporal relationship of signifying elements ('signs') within a given mode of communication, semantics with the relation between such 'signs' and what they stand for or stand as, pragmatics with all cultural and social aspects related to the production and interpretation of meaning related to syntax and semantics. The pragmatics of musical signification can therefore be understood to cover such phenomena as, on the one hand, the sociocultural position and signifying intentions of those 'transmitting', making or producing music, and, on the other hand, the sociocultural position, interpretations, reactions, functions, uses, etc. made by those hearing the same music.
23. 'La retorica greca e latina, così come l'intera linguistica dei sofisti, possono essere [considerate] come forme di un pragmatica del discorso. Ma anche nelle più astratte definizioni classiche di significazione ci sono elementi pragmatici tutte le definizioni del segno tengono conto non solo del rapporto fra espressione e contenuto,ma anche di quello fra l'espressione e la reazione mentale dell'interprete'. Eco also reminds us that such figures as Wittegenstein, Peirce, Morris, Meade and Habermas, as well as St Augustine, Roger Bacon, Occam, Abelard, Locke and others were all interested in the intended meaning and interpretations of statements, not only in abstract relations of expression to content (Eco 1990:266).
24. My italics. 'Dire che la pragmatica è una dimensione della semiotica non significa privarla di un oggetto. Significa invece che l'approcio pragmatico ha a che vedere con la totalità della semiosi, la quale, per essere compresa pienamente, dev'essere avvicinata anche da un punto di vista pragmatico. La sintattica e la semantica, quando si trovano in splendido isolamento diventano... discipline "perverse"' (Eco, 1990:259)
25. The following passage exemplifies this tendency. 'The motor rhythms of "Satisfaction" are themselves taken to constitute socially and culturally the form of sexuality in question through their very articulation. They are taken at the time of their articulation to occasion in individual subjects as socially and culturally constituted the structure of feeling of this form of sexuality in a manner specific to themselves' (pp.95-96). The relationship described is theorised in the book as that between 'sound as medium' plus 'sonic saddle' and 'elements of signification' plus 'states of awareness'.
26. pp.15, 35, 95. Although the authors mention 'the bass guitar riff' (p.35), I assume they mean Keith Richard's distorted guitar riff b b b c# d d d c#, not Wyman's bass guitar quavers oscillating between the E and Asus chords.
27. Although the lyrics may refer to 'trying to make some girl' and 'come back next week', the lines most people I know remember as leading up to 'I can't get no satisfaction'' are the radio man telling 'me how white my shirts could be, but he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me'.
28. Sitting firmly on my office chair in front of the computer, I have just thrust my buttocks forward to roll closer to the monitor in order to read the small text of this footnote more easily. That was not sexy at all. Now I will use my buttocks to move my chair in the opposite direction. Nothing sexual about that either. Perhaps I should move myself to and fro several times in succession. Still no experience of anything sexual. Putting a different slant on the problem, Alessandra Gallone, teacher of modern dance, recently told me: 'confusion of lower body movement with sex is a real problem in dance teaching. Many people have this 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink' notion of what we do. Helping them to use their whole body to express anything they want, not just sexuality, can be a heavy task' (Milan, 4 January 1998). Perhaps this is why some of us still ethnocentrically assume the essential use of the lower body in many forms of African dance to be primarily sexual. For a settling of accounts with inverted racism in relation to music of African and European origin, see my open letter to Popular Music 8/3 (1989: 285-298).
29. For example Chambers, as quoted by the authors (p.15), Grossberg ('Is there life after punk' in On Record, ed. Frith & Goodwin, New York, 1990: 113) and Lull (Popular Music and Communication, ed. J Lull, Newbury Park, 1992: 29-30). For critique of rockologist reduction of forceful low-pitch beat and backbeat to sexuality, see Tagg (1994) and Tamlyn (1998).
30. I am referring to the way in which the authors, in the final pages of their book, criticise 'essentialisation', by which they seem to mean the sort of reductionism under discussion here. Exaggerating my impressions on reading the authors' warnings, I felt a like a young man leaving home and being told in a few words by my father, who had beaten me throughout childhood, that violence is bad.
31. Moreover, arbitrary signs cannot originate as such since without other initial types of semiotic relationship (e.g. icons or indices) it would be impossible to develop the conventions on which arbitrary signs rely for their subsequent denotative qualities. Eco (1990:6) qualifies the imagined solidity of denotative signification through arbitrary signs as 'rigid designation', pointing out that 'language always says something more than its inaccessible literal meaning, something which is already lost right from the start of the textual utterance'.
32. False recapitulation: restatement of the main theme of a sonata form movement in a different key to that in which it appeared at the start of the movement and in which it is expected to reappear after the movement's development section. I regret that I have been unable to find any primary source for the observations about fainting.
33. This was also a period of ascendancy for rationalism and colonialism. For documentation and discussion of timbre and texture in the work of J S Bach, see Klingfors (1991), especially the chapters dealing with intonation, singing, violins and ensembles. Regarding the beat, it is worth noting that Johann Beer (1655-1700, Austrian composer, singer, instrumentalist and satirical novelist) wrote that 'people with no sense of regular pulse have no sense of honour' and that 'regular time is the soul of music' (Beer 1719: 166, ff.). Similarly, Mozart's father Leopold held that 'accompanists who can't keep to a regular beat are vulgar and amateurish' (Mozart 1756: 266), while J S Bach's composition pupil Kirnberger (1721-1783) stated that 'a good music teacher always keep his pupils on various types of dance music so they become rooted in the automatic aspect of the beat' (Kirnberger 1771). Finally, the author of J S Bach's obituary (1754) saw fit to record that the deceased 'was a very accurate conductor and in matters of tempo extremely reliable' (Bach-Dokumente III, 1972: 666). All citations are from Klingfors (1991: 346-350).
34. 'Anaphone', analogous with the word 'analogy' (= another way of saying the same thing), simply means another way of sounding the same thing. Anaphones can be sonic (musical sounds resembling sounds 'outside' music), tactile (musical sounds resembling sensations of touch), or kinetic (musical sounds resembling patterns of movement). For a more detailed account or musical sign types, see Tagg (1992).
35. For discussion of musical universals, see Hood (1990), Imberty (1990), Tagg (1993) and Marconi (1996).
36. It is not a good idea to drop a metal tray of instruments during brain surgery because the nervus vagus may react to the sound and make the patient's body move.
37. 'Transmodal' = transferred from one sense mode (e.g. sound) to another (e.g. touch, vision).
38. The semantic field covered by such musical gesture is the topic of detailed discussion in an analysis of 'The Dream of Olwen' in Ten Little Title Tunes, forthcoming research report by P Tagg and R Clarida.
39. For explanation of these terms, see Tagg (1992).
40. I vividly recall the attack of these dumbfounded musicologists as they formulated the desperate rhetorical question 'C'è la musica di film e c'è la musica... musica, no?'
41. This famous expression literally means 'tonal forms in movement' and is taken from Hanslick's Vom musikalisch Schönen (first edition 1854, Swedish translation of second edition 1858, Uppsala 1955). Put crudely, Hanslick was a fan of Brahms, a composer of symphonic music ('as music'), and opposed to Wagner, a composer of stage music (not 'music as music ').
difficulties of comprehension concern two areas: (i) what to a musicologist
seems to be a 'Cultural Theory' propensity for constructing abstract nouns from
past participles, such as 'connectedness', 'relatedness', 'embeddedness', words
whose meaning I can only guess; (ii) terms and phrases whose meanings are neither
defined nor comprehensible from the context, or which are used in different
ways on different occasions. For example, I still have no idea what 'technology
of articulation', 'music's internal characteristics' or 'the continually unfolding
sound-image', all apparently important to the book's main theory, actually mean.
Nor do my dictionary or I agree with the authors' implied definition of 'cognition'
and 'cognitive'. Particularly obscure is the authors' multifarious use of conceptual
hierarchies. Readers are apparently expected to distinguish between all
the following rankings: 'first' and 'second order actions'; 'first', 'second'
and 'third order awareness'; 'first' and 'second semiology'; 'primary' and 'secondary
processes' (of cognition); 'primary' and 'secondary use of language', not to
mention 'primary' and 'secondary' signification.
Less prejudicial to comprehension but important to the establishment of popular music as an area of scholarly enquiry is the consistent misspelling of 'timbral' (adjectival derivative of 'timbre') as 'timbrel'. If adjectives deriving from 'centre' and 'genre' are 'central' or '...centric' (not 'centrel'), and 'general' or 'generic' (not 'genrel'), then there is no reason why the adjectival suffix for 'timbre' should take the '-el' form of nominal suffixes like 'personnel' or 'colonel'. Even if 'timbral' (sometimes 'timbric') is a relatively new word coined by popular music scholars, it has been in use for some time in our subject. In short, the scholarly credibility of popular music studies is not enhanced by inability to follow satisfactory orthographic practices established by precedent in our own area as well as in written English as a whole. One the other hand, the misspelling of 'immanent' (inherent) as 'imminent' (overhanging) and the enthusiastic tautology 'corporeal and somatic' are no more than minor blunders of the kind found in almost any text, including this review.