Understanding music as Multimodal Discourse

Way, Lyndon and McKerrell, Simon (2017) Understanding music as Multimodal Discourse. In: Music as Multimodal Discourse: semiotics, power and protest. Advances in Semiotics . Bloomsbury, London, pp. 1-20. ISBN 9781474264426

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For many scholars of language, discourse and society, multimodal analysis has come effectively to mean the interrelating analysis of text and image. Definitions of multimodality do of course make reference to other modes including sound, music, taste, gesture or somatic perception, but there has until now been very little attention to the social semiotics of sound within multimodal texts. Multimodal semiotics, and indeed social semiotic treatments of music have been theorized primarily upon the static, and interrelated modes of text and image. Much of this work in multimodality has relied on homologous relationships frozen in time although embedded in complex social life. Whilst we acknowledge that our own role as interpreters of signs changes in different contexts and times, much of the literature of multimodality considers fairly static texts such as posters, paintings or roadsigns. This is one reason why sound, and more specifically music, has not been fully theorized in multimodality and its significant social semiotic power is largely absent from many analyses of important social discourses about power, ethnicity, race, gender, nationalism, to name but a few. Musical experience is today very often multimodal, and has a powerfully affective role in contemporary society, and has inspired a wide range of semiotic, aesthetic and mystical theories of how it makes meaning in people’s lives. Moreover, much of the discourse of multimodal semiotics has until recently, relied upon linguistic models of musical meaning. This book however builds upon a growing interest in the work in this area of key scholars such as Theo Van Leeuwen and David Machin amongst others, who have been working within Social Semiotics or discourse analytical approaches to communication who have been dealing with musical sound as communication. Therefore, building upon this new surge of interest, the aim of this book is to bring together a collection of key scholars working in this area to demonstrate, across a range of distinct contexts, how music acts as a fundamental aspect of multimodal communication. We therefore believe that music and sound are not trivial concerns for scholars of communication and media, but that they play an important role both as a discrete mode in itself, but perhaps even more crucially, in dialogue with other modes of communication such as image and text.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: music, discourse, multimodal critical discourse analysis, Turkey, politics, authenticity
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Media and Communication
Depositing User: Lyndon Way
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 15:42
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2017 15:42
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2168

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