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Strong Experiences with MusicMusic is much more than just music$
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Alf Gabrielsson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695225

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695225.001.0001

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Metaphors and similes

Metaphors and similes

(p.355) Chapter 28 Metaphors and similes
Strong Experiences with Music

Alf Gabrielsson

Oxford University Press

It has often been said — by musicians, philosophers, writers, and others — that words do not suffice to describe how one experiences music, music goes beyond words, ‘music starts where words come to an end’. That notion is also found among many of this book's narrators. They say that they can't find words that cover what they have experienced; the experience is — or certain parts of it are — indescribable. One possibility is to make use of metaphors or similes, that is, one refers to other phenomena that in some way are similar to or mirror what one experiences. About 100 narrators (approximately 10% of the participants) have made use of metaphors or similes. Most of these cases are reproduced here in the form of short quotes from the accounts concerned. They are, thus, taken out of their context, but there is a reference to the corresponding complete account. This chapter begins with metaphors and similes with regard to the actual music or performance; then metaphors and similes that concern experiences in connection with listening; performance and composition. Finally, there is a summary of the phenomena that have occurred in the metaphors and similes.

Keywords:   strong experiences with music, musical performance, musical experience, descriptions, metaphor, simile

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