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Foundations of Musical Grammar$
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Lawrence M. Zbikowski

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190653637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190653637.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter One Origins
Foundations of Musical Grammar

Lawrence M. Zbikowski

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an introduction to the unique approach to musical grammar taken in this volume, which adopts a theoretical perspective first developed by cognitive linguists. According to this theory, grammatical units are constructions that combine both form (syntax) and function (semantics). Building on the assumption that language and music have different functions in human cultures, it is proposed these media exploit different systems of reference: language relies on symbolic reference, and music relies on analogical reference. Musical grammar is based on form-function pairs (“constructions”) that provide sonic analogs for dynamic processes central to human cultures. This volume will focus on three such processes: those related to the emotions, to gestures, and to dance. The chapter provides an overview of the book as a whole and also explains how this approach to musical grammar connects with previous work in music theory.

Keywords:   construction grammar, cognitive linguistics, dance, emotion, gesture, music theory, musical grammar, musical meaning, syntax

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