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Displaying: 1-7 of 7 documents


2022 ssa keynote address

1. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1/4
Farouk Y. Seif

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Navigating the multicursal pattern of labyrinths is at the core of De-sign (the fusion of design and signs). Due to the ephemerality of de-sign situations and the infinite possibility of outcomes, the navigational trajectory, while intentional, is ambiguous and labyrinthine. Intentionality entices us to engage in the process of creating that which-is-yet-to-become—not deliberately looking for those that are already existent as ontic things but engaging in a process that allows qualities to emerge unexpectedly. Considering the immateriality of intentionality and its indeterminate outcomes, the process of navigating through the labyrinth of De-sign should not be perceived as a set of predetermined activities aiming at an expected result or thing. Navigating through unknown territories for the purpose of seeking qualitatively desired outcomes is the effective, nonlinear, reiterative de-sign process, which is constantly adjusted pragmatically by feedback and feedforward loops in order for the emergent outcome to become compatible with intentionality.

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2. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1/4
Michael Baker

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Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner’s model of conceptual blending is especially helpful in illustrating the type of text-music correspondences that often occur in Felix Mendelssohn’s songs and other vocal works. It corresponds to the way he spoke of his “poetics of song” compositions in his writings on the topic. Following a comparison of the Berlin-based approach to the songwriting of Mendelssohn to that of the Vienna-based song composers, such as Schubert, this essay will examine Mendelssohn’s own writings on text-music for such correspondences with the language of conceptual blending. I conclude with a close reading of “Es weiss und räth es doch Keiner,” Op. 99 no. 6, illustrating how Mendelssohn depicts the overall structure and specific meaning of Joseph von Eichendorff’s poem through a variety of musical techniques.
3. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1/4
Taylor A. Greer

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Charles Tomlinson Griffes was a visionary American composer at the turn of the twentieth century who synthesized highly diverse elements into a new artistic voice. This essay explores two instances of musical irony in Griffes’s oeuvre. “The Vale of Dreams” introduces a new tonal center at the end, which casts doubt on the overall structural role of the recurring bass pedal. Griffes’s use of irony in “Prelude #3” has a more critical character in that he questions underlying theoretical assumptions about scale-degree identity and the traditional concepts of consonance and dissonance. In addition, the double irony awakened in the final chord undermines the model of binary form and the aesthetic principle of closure upon which that model is based. As a result, the third prelude constitutes a kind of musico-philosophical challenge, an aesthetic exclamation point that invites listeners to reconsider traditional definitions of interval quality, tonality, and formal closure.
4. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1/4
Sally Ann Ness

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The changing forms of gestures used in choral conducting (both in rehearsal and performance) exemplify processes of symbol growth that challenge interpretations of Charles S. Peirce’s later hexadic semiotic as aligning with highly deterministic, (post-)structuralist theories of semiosis. The case in point discussed, a performance of Charles Ives’s A Christmas Carol, demonstrates that the Dynamic Object represented via the conductor’s changing gestures with each new instance of practice is at every turn subject to a host of unpredictable circumstances that limit its determinative powers. This predicament continuously factors into the sign’s immediate formations (Immediate Object and Interpretant) as well as its extramusical meaning-making capabilities (the formation of Dynamic and Final Interpretants). The conducting process, from first rehearsal through concert performance, illustrates how creativity in Representamen formation is an expansive force on which every form of Symbol growth depends.
5. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1/4
Tristan McKay

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In this paper, I consider the creation and performance of Leah Asher’s TRAPPIST-1 (2017), a solo piano work in graphic notation that I commissioned and premiered. Musical works that utilize open notations often have a complex relationship to the work-concept and, in turn, an elusive ontology. I consider the role of conceptual palettes as significant sites in the creative process where ontological boundaries are delineated. I analyze four sites in the creation of TRAPPIST-1—from project proposal to premiere performance—where conceptual palettes play a dynamic role in narrowing, restricting, and guiding the identity of the work. Using Jakobson’s notion of the poetic function and Harkness’s concept of qualic transitivity, I show that conceptual palettes facilitate performance as highly cu­rated acts of translation not just of open notations but also of intangible concepts.
6. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1/4
Robert S. Hatten

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A fundamental issue for music semiotics is how we might address the signification and interpretation of complex amalgams that do not neatly subdivide into what I call “atomistic signs.” At all levels of musical organization, we are confronted with complex amalgams that demand a more synthetic kind of perception and cognition (e.g., gestures) or a more integrative approach to reconstruction and implementation (e.g., musical styles, understood as competencies guiding interpretation). Although many music-theoretical models helpfully address the temporality of musical events, they cannot fully capture the immediacy of a complex musical gestalt that demands qualitative, aesthetic, affective, and, ultimately, synthetic interpretation. This essay considers ways we can enhance our theoretical understanding of, and our own competency for, musically artistic interpretation. I conclude with an application of this approach to the opening of the Sarabande from Bach’s keyboard Partita no. 4 in D Major.

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7. The American Journal of Semiotics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1/4

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