Semiotics 1980 pp 185-194 | Cite as

Explaining Style Growth and Change: A Richer Semiotic Model

  • Robert S. Hatten


For the past four years I have been working with a concept of style as competency, in the sense of its use by Chomsky (1965) in linguistics and Jonathan Culler (1975) in his Structuralist Poetics. It is the ‘code’ of Jakob-son’s (1960) semiotic poetics, with emphasis on its usability, its functionality as the shared ‘language’ between sender and receiver, between composer and educated listener. Style as competency differs from the literary critic’s varied usage of style as either the sum of distinctive traits or as deviance from a norm. The literary critic tends to view style as a part of works, whereas for a style theorist, the ‘code’ and the ‘message’, in Jakobson’s terms, are distinct theoretical categories.


Functional Explanation Musical Score Style Change Music Theory Classical Style 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Hatten
    • 1
  1. 1.Houston Baptist UniversityHoustonUSA

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