Music and its Language

  • Alan Durant
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


Playing and listening to music remain especially resistant to description and commentary. The difficulty of finding a vocabulary to speak of musical forms within their social contexts, whilst at the same time accounting for their expressive or affective potential, makes extremely precarious any notion of response that makes claim to something more than personal impression. In addition, the range of relations involved in a musical performance or experience involve considerations far more complicated than can be handled within present boundaries of formal musical analysis. These fundamental problems are widely acknowledged by musicians, by listeners, and by commentators. And they perplex discussions or assessments of musical activities, as well as participation in them. Indeed, they have contributed to the widely held view of music which attaches particular value to its assumed radical unknowability: in reverence for directly sensuous experience, music is often valued as a kind of immediate sensuality, seemingly something literally breathed into the body from the air.


Seventeenth Century Musical Performance Musical Activity Musical Work Early Eighteenth Century 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Alan Durant 1984

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  • Alan Durant

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