chapter  2
21 Pages

Emotive Gesture in Music and its Contraries

WithDavid Lidov

Giuseppe Verdi’s musical cue is minimal, but it has a definite quality that only a time-point theorist could mistake. Dancing is a special case as it is nearly inseparable from music, making a tight feedback loop. Musically, the representation often has to do with increasing the contrast between continuity and articulation, longer continuous exhalations of melody separated by breaks that might evoke inhalation. Breathing is one more kind of musically representable somatic action. Gesture is no more important for music than its various contraries. One of the glories of developed instrumental music and of vocal music which draws on the tradition of developed instrumental music is that it is abstract and resists representations. Posture is another of gesture’s contraries, and the relationship between them is problematic. The bridge between the innate and acquired elements in one gesture may be regarded as a further act of representation: the performed bodily gesture represents its innate tendencies via a particular comportment.