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2018, iss. 6, pp. 89-103
Beyond music and beyond words: A psychoanalytic inquiry
aUniversity of Arts, Faculty of Music Arts
bVisoka škola likovnih i primenjenih umetnosti, Beograd
Keywords: linguistics; musical syntax; psychoanalysis; primary process
Abstract
Relationships between language and music have always been lively and dynamic, from their syncretic unity in rituals, to setting text to music, verbal accounts of musical works, musicalization of literature, to abundance of linguistic and literary metaphors in discourse about music. Both language and music unfold in time; both possess a hierarchy of elements that are combined according to a set of rules. This paper will first indicate some linguistic (primarily syntactic) concepts that inform music theory. An analogy can also be established between the Chomskyan concept of the deep structure of language and Schenkerian Ursatz. Music, however, is not always organized along the lines of syntactic hierarchy. Music is also capable of simultaneity in a way inaccessible to language. In order to negotiate this ambiguous relationship between music and language, we invoke the psychoanalytic model of the mind. It postulates that the archaic experience of the world is associated with the auditory sphere. This auditory, pre-verbal mode of conceiving the world will gradually yield to subsequent developmental phases: the visual, and then verbal communication. The deep structure of music is necessarily analogous to verbal structures. However, owing to its pre-verbal origin, music is also organized according to the more archaic modes of mental functioning. For instance: the precepts of logic do not apply; music allows condensation much more readily than language. This explains polyphony in music and imprecisions in parsing music flow into discrete units.
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article language: English
document type: Original Scientific Paper
DOI: 10.5937/ZbAkUm1801089Z
published in SCIndeks: 27/09/2018
Creative Commons License 4.0