Combined Academic Publishers

The Sonic Self

9780253337542: Hardback
Release Date: 22nd January 2001

1 b&w photos, 18 figures

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 392

Series Advances in Semiotics

Indiana University Press

The Sonic Self

Musical Subjectivity and Signification

Hardback / £33.00

Semioticians began by looking at literature but have gradually applied their techniques to other disciplines, including music. The late Naomi Cumming... based this consideration of the sources of musical expression on her experiences as a performer—with interesting, if rarely surprising, results." —Choice

Using classical violin music as her principal laboratory, the author examines how a performance incorporates distinctive features not only of the work, but of the performer as well—and how the listener goes about interpreting not only the composer's work and the performer's rendering of the work, but also of the performer's and listener's identities. A richly interdisciplinary approach to a very common, yet persistently mysterious, part of our lives.

Preliminary Table of Contents:

Musical Initiations
Subjects and Subjectivity
A Philosophical Outlook
1. Signs of Subjectivity
Physical Disciplines and Signs
A Semiotic View of Musical Subjectivity
Expressive Individuation and Uncertainty
2. Listening Subjects and Semiotic Worlds
The Uncertainties of Musical Signification
Interntionality and Metaphor
Subjects and First-person Authority
Regaining an Interpretive "I"
3. Musical Signs
Signs and Objects
Questions and Typologies
4. Naming Qualities; Hearing Signs
Qualities and Qualities-as-Signs
Disciplinary Boundaries: How Does Semiotics Relate to Psychology?
5. Gesturing
Gesture as Performance and Convention
To Perform or to Dissimulate?
Voice and Gesture as Virtualities
6. Framing Willfulness in Tonal Law
Theorists: Giving Roles to Rules
The Dialectics of Tonal Semiosis
7. Complex Syntheses
Expressive Complexity and Musical "Personae"
Modes of Synthesis
8. Culturally Embedded Signs
Emergent Qualities
Skeptical Issues
9. Values and Personal Categories
Sounds and Sensuality
Rehabilitating the Subject
Appendix: Theorizing Generals
Real or Nominal Rules?
Finding Constancies, Explaining What One Hears, or Seeking Enlightenment?

Naomi Cumming was a fine violinist and music theorist. She published a host of journal articles and lectured internationally on the philosophy, psychology, and semiotics of music; her article on musical semiotics will appear in the Revised New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. She was a Fulbright fellow at Columbia University, a research fellow in music theory at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Melbourne, and recipient of an award from the Society for Music Theory in 1998.