Musical Intentionality: Between Objects And Meaning
How do the physical realities of bodily gestures, instrumental and other technologies relate to musical meanings as constructed by humans? What enables such relations, and on what terms do we analyze them? These questions parallel those in the philosophy of language: how does the physical manifestation of a speech act-whether as the pure sonic phenomenon of an oral utterance or as physical markings on paper-refer to human constructed meanings? The dissertation takes as axiomatic that any human interaction with the material world as well as any subsequent relations between materiality and meaning are mediated by the active neurobiological processes which give rise to human agency. Though manifested in endlessly flexible ways, I argue that these relations are nonetheless bound by a set of logical structures derived from how we relate to the world more generally through intentionality-the capacity of consciousness to be about states of affairs beyond itself. In Part I, I develop a series of arguments that shows how intentionality structures the ways in which aspects of musical materiality relate to musical meaning. Part II then explores these structures creatively in three case studies. As a whole, the dissertation aims to demonstrate that creative acts such as music-making partake coherently within the logical structures of the physical and biological world of which they are a part. It thus aims to establish, in the wake of the material turn, a new framework from which to explore musical meaning both creatively and rationally in any and all contexts regardless of historical and cultural differences.
Materiality, Embodiment, Media Theory; Objecthood, Agency, Technology; Music, Meaning, Analysis, Performance
Bilson,Malcolm; Stucky,Steven Edward
Ph. D., Musicology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis