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date: 25 September 2021

p. 343. Music as languagelocked

p. 343. Music as languagelocked

  • Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis


Music can feel like it is communicating powerfully. “Music as language” considers whether music is actually a kind of language and, if so, what it means and how it conveys these meanings. As communicative systems, music and language both feature some universal components and much cultural variation. Both consist of complex auditory signals that can be visually represented in notation. Both can involve interpersonal coordination. Both combine discrete sound units into rich structures—sentences and paragraphs in the case of language, phrases and sections in the case of music. Musical grammar and musical expressivity are discussed along with learning in music and language, musical meaning, and music-language interactions.

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