Foundations of Musical Grammar

ISBN : 9780190653637

Lawrence M. Zbikowski
264 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2017
Oxford Studies in Music Theory
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In recent years, music theorists have been increasingly eager to incorporate findings from the science of human cognition and linguistics into their methodology. In the culmination of a vast body of research undertaken since his influential and award-winning Conceptualizing Music (OUP 2002), Lawrence M. Zbikowski puts forward Foundations of Musical Grammar, an ambitious and broadly encompassing account on the foundations of musical grammar based on our current understanding of human cognitive capacities. Musical grammar is conceived of as a species of construction grammar, in which grammatical elements are form-function pairs. Zbikowski proposes that the basic function of music is to provide sonic analogs for dynamic processes that are important in human cultural interactions. He focuses on three such processes: those concerned with the emotions, the spontaneous gestures that accompany speech, and the patterned movement of dance. Throughout the book, Zbikowski connects cognitive research with music theory for an interdisciplinary audience, presenting detailed musical analyses and summaries of the basic elements of musical grammar.


Music and Language in Human Cultures
Foundations of Musical Grammar
Musical Grammar and Music Theory
Music and Analogy:
Perceptual Symbol Systems, Embodied Knowledge, and Analogy
Sonic Analogs and Systems of Reference
Sonic Analogs for Dynamic Processes
Analogy and Imagination
Music and Emotion:
Recent Research on Emotion
Recent Research on Music and Emotion
Music, Emotions, and Sonic Analogs
Music and Gesture:
Gesture and Language
The Infrastructure of Human Communication
Music and Movement
Music and Gesture
Music and Dance:
Music and Dance in the Ancien Regime
Of Waltzes and Waltz Music
Conclusion: Music, Social Dance, and Musical Grammar
Music and Words:
Uber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh
Music, Words, and Song
Questions, Answers, Questions:
Sonic Analogs for Dynamic Processes
The Elements of Musical Grammar
Prospects for a Cognitive Grammar of Music
Works Cited
Index of Names
Index of Subjects

About the author: 

Lawrence M. Zbikowski is Professor of Music at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1993. His research focuses on the application of research in cognitive science to the theory and analysis of music. He is the author of Conceptualizing Music: Cognitive Structure, Theory, and Analysis (2002). In 2010-11 he held a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and was also Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at McGill University.

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