Karl Miller asks about music as language. I, of course, can prove
nothing, but I can refer to what I sense as I listen. Roger Sessions
comes closest to my opinion when he says that music captures the "movement
of thought," rather than thought itself. In other words, we may not
know what Beethoven's Seventh means, in the sense that we know what
"Ganymed" means, but we find ourselves responding to its rhetoric in
much the same way we respond to a well-written story, poem, or speech.
Music has the power to move the mind in this way, without recourse to
words. One might also extend this to abstract painting, where emotion
arises from non-representational images. Of course, the difference
between painting and music is the difference between space and time.
One takes in the painting all at once. One takes in the musical piece
as it unfolds, and reconstructs the whole in retrospect.