Lawrence M. Zbikowski

in Conceptualizing Music

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195140231
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199871278 | DOI:

Series: AMS Studies in Music


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This chapter examines the process of cross-domain mapping, beginning with the work of cognitive linguists who, in the 1980s, proposed that metaphor was a basic structure of understanding. This proposal gained added weight when it was shown that metaphorical projection (which is one way to accomplish cross-domain mappings) was a general process not restricted to linguistic expressions but grounded in embodied experience. One example of cross-domain mapping that involves music in a rather immediate way is the technique of text painting, a compositional device that aims to represent in music specific images summoned by the text of a vocal work. Text painting provides a point of departure for the exploration of how cross-domain mapping is manifested in our understanding of music, as it leads to an extension of cross-domain mapping called conceptual blending. In a conceptual blend, elements from two correlated domains are projected into a third, giving rise to a rich set of possibilities for the imagination. It is shown that text painting can lead to such blends, as can program music.

Keywords: cognitive linguists; metaphorical projection; text painting; image schema; invariance principle

Chapter.  15077 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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