In order to promote new ways of thinking about musical meaning, this volume brings together scholars in music theory, musicology, and the philosophy of music, disciplines generally treated as separate and distinct. This interdisciplinary collaboration, while respecting differences in perspective, identifies and elaborates shared concerns.
This volume focuses on the many and various kinds of meaning in music. Do musical meanings exist exclusively in internal, formal musical relations or might they also be found in the relationship between music and other areas of experience, such as action, emotion, ideas, and values? Also discussed is the vexed question why people listen to and apparently enjoy music which expresses unpleasant emotions, such as melancholy or despair. Among the particular pieces the writers discuss are Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, and Schubert’s last sonata. More broadly, they consider the relation of musical meaning and interpretation to language, storytelling, drama, imagination, metaphor, and emotion.