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    Tagg:Musics Meanings 229

    7.

    Interobjectivity

    Intro

    IN CHAPTER 6 we started trying to unpack the

    blackboxofmusicalmeaning(Figure71).Ethno

    graphicobservation,receptiontestsandataxonomyofVVAs led to theestablishmentofshared

    subjectivity of response, as evidence of other

    thingsthanjustmusicthatdemonstratetheexist

    enceofsemanticfieldslinkedtomusicalstructure

    inananalysisobject(AO).Thoseotherthingsare

    calledparamusicalfields of connotation,orPMFCs

    forshort.Thelinksarenotextra butparamusical

    because theyexistalongsideor inconnection

    with

    themusic,asanintrinsicpartofmusicalsemiosis

    inarealculturalcontext,notasexternalappend

    agestothemusic.1TheVVAs inChapter6all

    verbalisedintermsofmovement,location,mood,

    feelingandpeople,all those librarymusic titles

    anddescriptionsetc.areintrinsicallyparamusical.Theyareessential

    to theestablishmentofPMFCs, i.e.ofparticular semantic fieldsconnected toparticular setsofmusicalsound inparticularculturalcon

    texts.Now,thePMFCsinChapter6derivedmainlyfromintersubjective

    observationsofresponseinrelationtoparticularstructuralconfigura

    tionsinparticularpiecesofmusic.Thischapterfocusesonaninterobjec

    tiveapproachtomusicalsemiosis(Figure72,p.238).

    Interobjectivityclearlyhassomethingtodowithrelationshipsbetween

    objects.Itpresupposesthatobjectsconsistofstructuralelements,andthatoneobjectcanbemoreorlesslikeanotherdependingontheele

    1. (para)=beside,alongside,issuingfrom,etc;extra(Latin)=outside.

    Fig. 7-1. Black box: escape route 1

    NM07-IObjSpecimen.fm.

    2012-

    12-

    http://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdf
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    230 Tagg:Musics Meanings 7. Interobjectivity

    ments,ifany,theyshareincommon.Now,ifanyofmusicsstructural

    elementsare,asweveargued,capableofcarryingmeaningwellneed

    firsttohavesomeideaofwhatismeantbythreeconcepts:[1]amusical

    object;[2]amusicalstructure;[3]amusicalstructurethatcarriesmeaningormuseme.Withthoseworkingdefinitionsbehinduswellbeable

    tofocusmoreclearlyoninterobjectiveprocedures.

    Basicterminology

    ObjectandstructureIntheexpressionanalysisobject(AO),objectisnotusedinthePeircean

    sense(p.

    156).

    Here

    it

    just

    means

    an

    identifiable

    piece

    of

    music

    in

    audibleform,theobjectofanalysis.2Itcanbeapopsong,aclassicalsymphony

    movement,ajingle,afilmmusiccue,aTVthemeetc.,anditusuallyhas

    anameortitleofsomesort.Whenusedinthissense,amusicalobject,if

    storedasrecordedsound,willtypicallyoccupyoneCDtrackorconsti

    tute a single audio file. Therefore, the interobjective procedures ex

    plained later in this chapter involve the establishment of sonic

    relationshipsbetweenananalysisobject(AO)andatleastoneothermu

    sicalobject(piece,song,movement,track,etc.).Therecurringproposi

    tion in interobjectiveanalysis is thatsomething inmusicalobjectA (the

    AO)soundslikesomethinginmusicalobjectB(orCorDorZ).

    Now,thatSOMETHINGTHATSOUNDSLIKEcouldbealmostanything.It

    mightbeaturnofmelodicphrase,ariff,asonority,arhythmicpattern,

    aharmonicsequenceortypeofchord,aparticularuseofparticularin

    struments,ofvocal timbre,ofacoustic space,anyofwhich couldbe

    presentedataparticularspeed inaparticularregisterataparticular

    levelofintensityandsoon.Anysuch something,canbepoetically

    identifiedasaparticularconfigurationofdifferentparametersofmusical

    expressionofthesortjustmentioned(rhythm,pitch,timbre,etc.).Itwill

    alsousuallybeacombinationofseveralsuchsomethings.Itcouldbe

    aparticularharmonicsequenceplayedbyparticularinstrumentsusing

    aparticularrhythmicpattern,oraparticularmelodicturnofphrasede

    liveredwithaparticularvocaltimbreataparticularpitchandvolumeinaparticulartypeofacousticspacetowardsthefront,back,left,right

    2. Pieceofmusicisdefinedonpage272.

    http://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdf
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    Tagg:Musics Meanings 7. Interobjectivity 231

    orcentreofthemix.Mostofthesesomethingswillbeshortenoughto

    fitintotheextendedpresentbuttheycanalsobeprocessual,compris

    ingtheorderandmannerinwhichdifferentsections(episodes)inthe

    AOarepresented,varied,extended,shortenedorrepeated.3

    Whatever the exact structural characteristicsof thepossible typesof

    somethingmaybe,Ijustusedpoeticratherthanaesthesictermstoex

    emplifythoseconstituentaspectsofamusicalobject,i.e.Iusedterms

    derived from theprocessofconstructing thesoundsrather fromhow

    theyreperceivedas communicatinganything else than themselves.4

    Thesomethingsofthepreviousparagraphareinthatsensequalifiable

    asstructuralbecauseanyonethemcanbeconceptualisedasamusical

    structureregardlessofsemioticpotential.Just like thesewords typed

    intomycomputer,written todiskanduselessuntil theyarereador

    heard,musicalideasalsohaveasemioticallydormantmodeofexist

    ence,whetherstoredasanaudiorecording,orasascore,orinthebrain

    cellsof individuals constituting amusical community: they are also

    useless until they are reproduced andheard inside thehead or out

    loud.5Inotherwords,amusicalstructure,asapoeticallydeterminable

    entityandsetofsoundsinphysicalform,alwayshasthepotentialto

    becomeasigninPeircesprimarytrinityofsemiosis.6Inthatcaseitssta

    tusassignpresupposesthatthestructuralentitymaterialisesaninitial

    ideaorintention,and,moreimportantly,thatitslinkedtoaninterpre

    tant.Ifsuchastructureisnotconsideredsemioticallyitremainsjustthat

    amerestructurebutifitsconsideredalongwithintendedorper

    ceivedmeaningitalsobecomesasign,astructuralitemofmusicalsignification.Astructuralitemwithsemioticpropertiesinmusicwillbecalleda

    MUSEME.Ifonlythingswerethatsimple

    3. SeeGlossaryandpp.272273forexplanationoftheextendedpresent.ParametersofmusicalexpressionarediscussedinChapters812.

    4. Forexplanationofpoeticandaesthesic,seeGlossaryandp.115,ff.5. Thisdormantstatecanbecomparedtoaparkedcar.Tobeofanyuseasavehicle,it

    hastobedesigned,itspartsproducedandassembled.Youhavetoknowhowto

    driveit,butunlessyoureamechanic,youwontthinkofthecarinthesamewayasthosewhomadeit.Parkedmotionlessitstillexistsandcanbethoughtofasaphysicalobjectaswellasofintermsofitspotentialuses.

    6. Peircesprimarytrinity:object,sign,interpretant(pp.156158).PleasenotethatImnotusingobjecthereinthePeirceansense.

    http://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdf
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    232 Tagg:Musics Meanings 7. Interobjectivity

    Museme

    ThetermmusemewascoinedbyCharlesSeeger(1960:76).7

    [Itisa]unitofthreecomponentsthreetonebeats[which]cancon

    stitutetwoprogressionsandmeettherequirementsforacomplete,in

    dependentunitofmusiclogical formormood inbothdirectionand

    extension.Itcanberegardedasamusicalmorphemeormuseme.

    The lastpartof thisstatement isclearenough: ifamorpheme is the

    smallestlinguisticunitthathasmeaninginandofitselfthenamuseme

    isthesmallestunitembodyingmeaninginmusic.8Ifthatisso,Seegers

    explanationofthetermisproblematicforseveralreasons.

    Tone,as in tonebeat, is thefirstproblemwithSeegersdefinitionofmuseme.Iftonemeansanoteofdiscerniblefundamentalpitch,thena

    musicalstructureconsistingof threenoteswithoutdiscernible funda

    mentalpitch,asinadrumpattern,wouldhavenomusiclogicalform

    ormoodandwouldcarrynomeaning.Sincethatconclusion isboth

    falseandaninsulttodrummersletsassumethatSeegermeantthree

    notes,usingnote in theMIDI senseof theword, i.e.a single,discrete

    soundoffinitedurationinapieceofmusic,whetherornotthesoundistonal.9 At least that definition caters for the connotative distinction

    most Western listeners are capable of makingbetween, say, a sym

    phonictimpanirollandaFUNKYDRUMMERloop.Itwouldalsoletususe

    thetermmusemetohorizontallyidentifymeaningfulunitsofrhyth

    micandmelodicstructuration,i.e.intermsofatleastthreeconsecutive

    notesandtothinkaboutsuchunlayeredmusemesasconstituentele

    mentsinsinglestrandunitsofmusicalmeaningmusemestrings,as

    evidencedinmusicalmotifs,phrases,ostinatopatternsorriffs,etc.10So

    far,sogood.Thetroubleisthatmusicalmeaningisnotsolelydepend

    entonnotesequences(thediachronic,horizontalaspect).Itis,aswell

    7. Seeger(18861979),UScomposer/musicologist,andfatherofPeteandPeggy,tookpioneeringstepstobridgethegapbetweenmusicologyandotherdisciplines.

    8. SeeGlossaryforexplanationsofmorphemeandphoneme.9. Seepp.273276andGlossaryforexplanationofnote,pitch,toneandtonal.

    10. SeegersATLEASTTHREENOTESrule,questionedonpage235,isperhapsbetterunderstoodasanATLEASTTWOCHANGESrulebecause:[1]thechangefrommusicalsilencetonoteatthestartofapieceorafterapauseisalso(quellesurprise!)amusicalchange;[2]thefinalnoteofasinglestrandmusemeisoftenelidedintothefirstnoteofthesubsequentsinglestrandmuseme(Tagg,1982:5458).

    http://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdfhttp://../NonMusoAll.pdf
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    Tagg:Musics Meanings 7. Interobjectivity 2

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