Time, Subjectivity and Contested Signs: Developing Monelle's Application of Peirce's 1903 Typology to Music.
In: Sheinberg, Esti, ed.
Music Semiotics: A Network of Significations.
Ashgate, pp. 149-162.
The summary of musicological approaches to emotion by Nicholas Cook and Nicola Dibben (2001) highlights the achievements of Robert Hatten in particular. In the conclusion of their article Cook and Dibben make clear that Hatten’s project still leaves considerable scope for further development and qualification. They identify two essays, one by Marion Guck and another by John Fiske, that might be used to inflect Hatten’s work and which point to the ‘performative’ character of analysis/interpretation. To recognize analysis as performative is to recognize its ‘personal and provisional nature’ and to reverse the assumption that we hear meanings already within the music – we hear them, instead, into the music (Cook and Dibben 2001: 65).
Cook and Dibben go on to outline a number of more recent ‘attempts to develop explicit theoretical models for the attribution of meaning to music’ pointing up work by Zbikowski, Gibson and Cook. This essay is another such attempt. The theoretical model it develops is derived from C. S. Peirce’s 1903 typology and in so doing it pays particular attention to Monelle’s article of 1991, ‘Music and the Peircean trichotomies’. As with other applications of Peirce one of the key theoretical notions explored is the trichotomy icon, index and symbol. However, unlike other applications, this paper focuses upon the way in which these signs combine in the process of semiosis. It also looks to play closer attention to the broad sweep of Peircean thought by considering the role of time in defining his categories, which, it is argued, allows us to conceive more comprehensively the potential for semiotics to elucidate the listening process.
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