David Lidov, Professor Emeritus at York University

“Against Music Semiotics”

Co-sponsored by The Council of the Humanities

Thursday, October 18

4:30pm, Woolworth 106


“I will be contrasting ‘music semiotics’ and ‘general semiotics (or structural semiotics)’ as I construe them.I take the latter to have its best strengths in its characteristics that have most fallen out of favour: its pretentions of universality and a fecundity in simple schemata that ride rough-shod over nuance. I choose to understand general semiotics as the project of constructing a comparative perspective on the capacities of different media for structure and representation. The big project needs input from musicology but ‘music semiotics,’ an uprooted fragment that wilts rapidly, shows we should go back to the well.”


Professor Lidov has composed many works for orchestra, chamber ensemble and voice. His scholarly research focuses on the semiotics of music and musical analysis, including computer-based research on music and expressive gesture. His most recent book is Is Language a Music? published by Indiana University Press (2004).

Personal website http://www.yorku.ca/lidov/


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