The Words of Music
2003 (English)In: Popular music and society, ISSN 0300-7766, Vol. 26, no 1, 37-51 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Words and music are two distinct symbolic modes. Yet, as human ways of communication or forms of expression, they have much in common. They have important similarities as signifying systems, their mutual penetration is suggested by metaphors like “the language of music” or “the music of language”, and they are multi-modally united in all song genres. Popular song in particular is generally “text-intensive” (Booth 188). Many attempts to distinguish univocally between them turn out to be more difficult than may first be expected. Most cultural practices have no problems separating or combining them, but their defining differences tend to be explained in highly divergent and even contradictory ways. I will here exemplify some such fascinating paradoxes, problematizing what might seem to be self-evident rather than offering any simple answers. By pointing at certain interesting complexities, at least some main dimensions of the relations between words and music will be discerned
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 26, no 1, 37-51 p.
popular music, lyrics, song, music, meaning
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15568DOI: 10.1080/0300776032000076388OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-15568DiVA: diva2:126633
Original publication: Johan Fornäs, The Words of Music, 2003, Popular Music and Society, (26), 1, 37-51.http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0300776032000076388. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business2008-11-192008-11-192009-05-14Bibliographically approved