By Ruth Katz

The Western musical culture has produced not just tune, but in addition numerous writings approximately track that stay in continuous—and drastically influential—dialogue with their topic. With sweeping scope and philosophical intensity, A Language of Its Own strains the previous millennium of this ongoing exchange.

Ruth Katz argues that the indispensible courting among highbrow creation and musical construction gave upward push to the Western notion of track. This evolving and infrequently conflicted procedure, in flip, formed the paintings shape itself. As rules entered track from the contexts during which it existed, its inner language built in tandem with shifts in highbrow and social heritage. Katz explores how this infrastructure allowed song to give an explanation for itself from inside, making a self-referential and rational origin that has started to erode in fresh years.

A magisterial exploration of a regularly missed intersection of Western paintings and philosophy, A Language of Its Own restores tune to its rightful position within the background of rules.  

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17. See Levy, “On Gregorian Orality,” 190–91. Treitler introduced an analogy between Gregorian chant and the works of Balkan epic bards, which were studied by Parry and Lord. Plainchant, accordingly, was to be illuminated by the practice of Homer and the Serbian-Macedonian singers of tales. 18 Levy agrees that it is futile to look for a “single written original from which all Latin neumes organically descended”; he suggests instead three branches that coexisted during a period of some centuries.

27 We turn now, therefore, to such 25. Levy, “On Gregorian Orality,” 216. 26. , 217–18. 27. For a symbolic system to qualify as a notational system, Goodman tells us, it must answer to five definitional requirements. Two of the requirements are syntactic, and three of them semantic. Briefly, the symbol scheme of every notational system is notational. It consists of characters (‘inscriptions,’ ‘marks,’ ‘utterances’), the essential feature of which is an “abstraction class of character indifference among inscription,” that is, each inscription of a character is recognized as a true copy of the character, and no mark may belong to more than one character.

15. Kenneth Levy, Gregorian Chant and the Carolingians (Princeton, 1998), 13. 16. Much of Treitler’s claims rested on the interesting work of Milman Parry and Albert Lord. Their work transformed the field of Homeric studies and other oral poetry by pointing to the consistencies within their forms, that is, their use of formulaic language (repeated phrases and other formations) that helped poets to construct and remember their poems. 17. See Levy, “On Gregorian Orality,” 190–91. Treitler introduced an analogy between Gregorian chant and the works of Balkan epic bards, which were studied by Parry and Lord.

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