chapter  1
18 Pages

The Structure of Rhythm: The Essence of Time in Music

Throughout human history, music has been considered a form of communication. However, the nature of what and how music communicates has been the subject of long-standing and fascinating inquiries in philosophy, religion, the arts, and the sciences. Music has been frequently described as a language-like form of human expression, although musical sounds do not carry designative meaning, as speech sounds do. Communication —defined in the broadest terms as the process involving any exchange of meaningful information between two or more participants (Gillam et al. 2000)—requires signs and symbols to exchange information between the originator and the recipient. Signs are frequently defined as anything that stands for something, usually with rather specific references, whereas symbols, as subforms of signs, evoke less specified meanings and are much more subjective. They must have significance for the originator producing them (cf. Kreitler and Kreitler 1972; Berlyne 1971).