Moving beyond motion: metaphors for changing sound

Adlington, R. (2003) Moving beyond motion: metaphors for changing sound. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 128 (2) pp. 297-318. ISSN 0269-0403 (print) 1471-6933 (online)


This article argues that music offers experiences of change that are at odds with our common understanding of time. Specifically, I question the widespread belief that onward motion is a condition of musical temporality. I approach this issue through metaphor theory, which tends to argue for the necessity of metaphorical experiences of time and music in terms of motion. I argue that music's changing sound evokes a variety of bodily metaphors; motion is not ever-present, but intermingles with metaphors of heat, light, weight, tension and so on. Works by Ligeti, Carter, Kurtág and Saariaho are discussed as case studies.

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