I have stayed out of this as long as I could. I'm one of those folks
who think music is it's own thing, and doesn't need to "mean" anything
other than itself.
I think a lot of the confusion we have in discussing music as language
could be the slippery way we are defining things.
Do you mean the emotions we feel are a language? Some people seem to
be suggesting that. But emotional content has no parallel with a spoken
and written language. The words in spoken and written language may cause
emotional reactions, but the emotions are not the language! They are a
result, but not the thing itself.
Music certainly contains many rules of composition... this could perhaps
be considered the parallel you are looking for in the comparison of music
English composition, for example, consists of many rules and conventions
of usage. Grammar,sentence structure, definitions (that change over
time!), order of parts of speech in a coherent sentence, variations from
language to language, rules of punctuation, paragraph construction,
etc.-- all of these and more are elements of composition.
The goal of a language of words is to express coherent thoughts in words.
In musical composition, these elements could perhaps be considered to
be similar to a language: musical structure, called "form"(for example
-- gigue, minuet, sonata allegro form, symphony, three-part song form,
rondo, etc); counterpoint with all the rules and regulations connected
to it; rhythm (a huge subject in itself);the historical study of harmony
and how chord progressions change from era to era, and what our ear
expects of each period of music.
The end result of musical composition is the expression of musical
Can we call music a language? I suppose we can. But although music and
poetry both use language to *express* feeling and emotion,a language is
not the same thing as emotion no matter how sexy Rachy's Second makes