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Exosemantic Analysis Analysis Of Music-As-Heard

Lasse Thoresen

Lasse Thoresen, The Norwegian Academy of Music, Postboks 5190 Majorstua, NO-0302 OSLO


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By the term exosemantic I refer to the way music is associated with entities beyond its own material and intrinsic structure. The definition of a musical sign will consist of three aspects: the manifest aspect (i.e. the signifier, the perceptible sound), the hidden aspect (i.e. the signified, the meaning of the sign), and the link between them (the semiosis or signifying act). In the context of the present project – a post-Schaefferian study of music-as-heard – the semiosis can be identified as being the listening intentions that imbue what we hear with meaning.
Four semioses will be discussed: Comparison, Causal Inference, Association, and Recognition. These correspond to the semioses involved in the constitution of, respectively, Iconic Signs, Indexical Signs, Metonymic Signs, and Arbitrary Signs. However, musical signs turn out to have a more complex nature than what is involved in the latter four types of signs, each of which are conventionally described as being constituted by one unique semiosis. I have resolved this problem by a developing a matrix that combines the primary semiosis with a secondary one. Thus in a motivated sign where the primary semiosis will be Comparison, Causal Inference or Association, there will be added a secondary semiosis, Recognition. In order to describe more complex constitutions of signs, different semioses may be combined into chains, notated as formulae.
The presentation proceeds to make an exosemantic analysis of Nimb 45 by Toshimaru Nakamura.

EMS12 Proceedings

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