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Music, Language, and the Brain$
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Aniruddh D. Patel

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195123753

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195123753.001.0001

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Meaning

Meaning

Chapter:
(p.299) (p.300) 6 Meaning
Source:
Music, Language, and the Brain
Author(s):

Aniruddh D. Patel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195123753.003.0006

Certain inconsistencies can be observed when looking into the relationship between musical and linguistic meaning. As Claude Lévi-Strauss suggests, music is the only language which is simultaneously understandable and untranslatable since, although it would be easy to translate between human languages, it would be difficult if not entirely impossible to translate music into music or music into language without having to alter the original material's meaning. On another note, it is perceived to be easier for music to overcome cultural boundaries than language since another culture's music is not as likely to entail losing interest when compared to a speech being delivered in a foreign language. However, we have to consider the translatability of language to that of music since languages present different ways of meaning transmissions between individuals, which music is unable to do.

Keywords:   musical meaning, linguistic meaning, human languages, cultural boundaries

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