Eero Tarasti: "The Emancipation of the Sign: On the Corporeal and Gestural Meanings in Music" (8/11)

It is true that gestures have their "home" in music, their proper "place" in which they live. They are like organs of a "body". However, in its rhythmic form the four-eight-bar periodic form is immediately questioned by a rhythmic asymmetry, and as late as in bar 27 we notice in which country and which century we are, i.e. which is the real musical situation of this message. This occurs with the dominant ninth-seventh chord with its impressionist flavour:

This opening seems so innocently positive in its clear form, that one only later notices that this sign, felt as a real "First" in the Peircean sense, has one pre-sign at least, in the French music history: It is namely the same as the motif of the Chorale in César Franck's Prélude, Chorale et Fugue. But even this pre-sign has its own still earlier pre-sign, such as Wagner's bell motif from the Grail scene in Parsifal. Here, that which at the outset seemed to be a purely masculine, naively corporeal vital sign of a musical body seems to be a parody of a much more profound, inner, psychologically complex Choral-motif. So there was an Otherness looming behind this seemingly purely corporeal gesture. However, even this sign brings us in this reversed direction to another sphere of Otherness, from the Gallic spirit to the Germanic one, namely with the evocation of Parsifal.

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AS/SA Nº4, Article 1 : Page 8 / 11

© 1997 by AS/SA

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