Re: Narrative and Semantic (I)

Subject: Re: Narrative and Semantic (I)
From: Richard Wentk (
Date: Tue Oct 11 2005 - 06:11:47 EDT

At 05:28 11/10/2005, you wrote:
>I don't agree with this statement. I find 'music' no more devoid of
>explicit semantic content than verbal language.

I'm finding it hard to imagine how a piece of music contains as much
explicit semantic content as - say - the BBC news website.

I'll be more convinced if you can offer examples.

When I say explicit I mean of strictly limited ambiguity. Anyone can make
up stories about music, including the composer. But it's astonishingly rare
for the stories that listeners make up to match the ones that a composer
makes up - unless there's a swathe of supporting *text* to explain what's
going on.

Not so the BBC website. When it says 'Major earthquake in Pakistan'
everyone with a basic grasp of English knows exactly what that means.

>Again there is the comment about what "really" is present -- different
>models of reality I guess.
>IMV, the language (either verbal or musical) does not contain the semantic
>content, this is supplied by the person who receives the 'message'.

Supposedly it's a two stage process - the structure (i.e. this is a noun)
is innate, the details (i.e. dog vs chien vs canis) are learned and
socially persistent.

Meanwhile if you want to argue this as consistency of subjective
interpretation - well, that's very much the point.


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