James Tobin wrote:
>I have no problem with calling musical expression "language," because
>some music, especially, is clearly expressive of feelings. The question
>is what kind of language is it? Clearly it is not verbal language, nor,
>for all its musical specificity, does it translate precisely into verbal
>language. There is a huge amount of ambiguity to it, for one thing,
>especially given the effects of subtly different emphases in various
>musical interpretations. That is probably a good thing. Music is much
>more a gestural language, like body language. Gestures are sometimes
>unmistakable, but they can be misinterpreted, and they generally need
>to be learned.
What a lovely way of expressing things! just as there is so much more
to "language" than words, there is so much more to music than notes.
A simile lies perhaps in poetry. Things can be expressed obliquely
"O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy."
A literalist might think this is about plant disease, and find the
"poetry" only in the sound of the words. An artist, for want of a better
word, might find many other levels of meaning, even some so personal
that that they aren't in the "exact" text.
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