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Paradigmatic analysis: books on music semiotics

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19/03/2013 23:42

Paradigmatic analysis: books on music semiotics

Paradigmatic Analysis: good books

Paradigmatic Analysis is a method of studying semiotics in music (semiotic analysis). It involves identifying and organizing repeated instances of the same phenomena occurring through a chain of musical events. Paradigmatic analysis is about setting up paradigmatic charts of repeated musical units to allow for comparison and the interpretation of these units. If you study, for instance, many works of Stravinsky, you will find that his music does not seem to lead to some kind of closure or goal. Instead, he seems to be cutting and pasting distinct and discontinuous musical ideas (also known as cells). Paradigmatic analysis is not as established a method of analysis as, for instance, Schenkerian Analysis. It is a very laborious method, that might be considered a bit overkill by some readers. If you want to buy any of the books, feel free to use the provided Amazon links!

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List of books on paradigmatic analysis / semiotic analysis

As of now, there are three books in this section.


Music and Discourse: Toward a Semiology of Music

Jean-Jacques Nattiez is a pioneer in the field of semiology (the study of signs) in music. In this acclaimed work, he examines the discourse about music, asking such questions as what defines a musical work? and what consitutes music. However, from the perspective of paradigmatic analysis, the most interesting chapters are The Semiology of Musical Analysis and The Musicians Discourse. These chapters do not show an example of a paradigmatic analysis, but demonstrates the philosophies and ideas behind it. Instead, the best reason for purchasing this book is that it takes a new approach to analysis. The books listed below include good demonstrations of Nattiezs approach. A slightly different approach to paradigmatic analysis, but equally fascinating, can be found in Jonathan Kramers The Time of Music (link leads to US store). The below Amazon links lead to Music and Discourse. Buy at (US) | Buy at (UK)

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A Guide to Musical Analysis

If you have visited other review pages in the analysis section, you will have seen this book before. A Guide to Musical Analysis, written by Nicholas Cook, includes detailed introductions to many analysis techniques. Included are, among others, Sonata form analysis and Schenkerian analysis, and a chapter on semiotic analysis, specifically introducing Nattiezs project. A Guide to Musical Analysis has been called a brilliant summary of an important field by a reviewer, and if youre new to musical analysis, this is probably the best book to get (no matter what you will focus on). It is also one of the cheapest alternatives out there. I personally find the chapter on semiotic analysis very challenging, but very understandable once you get used to Cooks way of explaining different concepts. If youre an undergraduate, it might take two reads before you completely grasp what the technique actually does. Buy at (US) | Buy at (UK)

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Linguistics and Semiotics in Music

Raymond Monelle was a British music theorist, and one of the primary pioneers of topic theory a field that concerns itself with musical signs. There are indeed several methods of musical analysis derived from linguistics and semiotics. However, again, from the perspective of paradigmatic analysis, the most interesting chapter might be The Analysis of the Neutral Level. These 37 pages probably gives the best introduction and demonstration of Jean-Jacques Nattiezs technique. Moreover, Linguistics and Semiotics in Music contains descriptions of structural semantics, intonation theory, narrative grammar as well as transformation and generation. They all serve to discuss and illustrate a certain music aesthetic based on linguistics The Language of Music as the legendary musicologist Deryck Cooke would put it. Buy at (US) | Buy at (UK)

Book review page: 6. Published August 10, 2012 as Paradigmatic analysis: good books.

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19/03/2013 23:42

Paradigmatic analysis: books on music semiotics

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19/03/2013 23:42