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The Sonic Self
     

The Sonic Self

by Naomi Cumming
 

"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

Overview

"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.

Editorial Reviews

Choice
Semioticians began by looking at literature but have gradually applied their techniques to other disciplines, including music. The late Naomi Cumming, violinist and music theorist, based this consideration of the sources of musical expression on her experiences as a performer—with interesting, if rarely surprising, results. Cumming argues from the musical score and from the physical attributes of the performer toward a theory of musical analysis relying on C.S. Peirce's groundbreaking philosophy. It is worth noting, as musical theorists generally do not, that there is no such thing as analysis in music. There is only interpretation, because alternative conclusions about even the simplest music are inherent in its study. Total agreement concerning the meaning of any music is impossible. Although Cumming's arguments are on the whole reasonable, toward the end she veers off into a defense of some of the new musicology's more preposterous practitioners. Although the world of contemporary humanities scholarship is highly contentious, her book would have been better without the polemic. With appendix and notes, this volume is for upper—division undergraduates through professionals.F. Goossen, emeritus, University of Alabama, Choice, September 2001

— F. Goossen, emeritus, University of Alabama

Choice - F. Goossen

Semioticians began by looking at literature but have gradually applied their techniques to other disciplines, including music. The late Naomi Cumming, violinist and music theorist, based this consideration of the sources of musical expression on her experiences as a performer—with interesting, if rarely surprising, results. Cumming argues from the musical score and from the physical attributes of the performer toward a theory of musical analysis relying on C.S. Peirce's groundbreaking philosophy. It is worth noting, as musical theorists generally do not, that there is no such thing as analysis in music. There is only interpretation, because alternative conclusions about even the simplest music are inherent in its study. Total agreement concerning the meaning of any music is impossible. Although Cumming's arguments are on the whole reasonable, toward the end she veers off into a defense of some of the new musicology's more preposterous practitioners. Although the world of contemporary humanities scholarship is highly contentious, her book would have been better without the polemic. With appendix and notes, this volume is for upper—division undergraduates through professionals.F. Goossen, emeritus, University of Alabama, Choice, September 2001

From the Publisher

Semioticians began by looking at literature but have gradually applied their techniques to other disciplines, including music. The late Naomi Cumming, violinist and music theorist, based this consideration of the sources of musical expression on her experiences as a performer—with interesting, if rarely surprising, results. Cumming argues from the musical score and from the physical attributes of the performer toward a theory of musical analysis relying on C.S. Peirce's groundbreaking philosophy. It is worth noting, as musical theorists generally do not, that there is no such thing as analysis in music. There is only interpretation, because alternative conclusions about even the simplest music are inherent in its study. Total agreement concerning the meaning of any music is impossible. Although Cumming's arguments are on the whole reasonable, toward the end she veers off into a defense of some of the new musicology's more preposterous practitioners. Although the world of contemporary humanities scholarship is highly contentious, her book would have been better without the polemic. With appendix and notes, this volume is for upper—division undergraduates through professionals.F. Goossen, emeritus, University of Alabama, Choice, September 2001

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253337542
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2001
Series:
Advances in Semiotics Series
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.88(d)

Meet the Author

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.

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