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Authors: Mihailo Antović

Publisher: Routledge

Language: English

ISBN: 978-0-367-46738-8 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-1-032-28260-2 (pbk)
ISBN: 978-1-003-03076-8 (ebk)
DOI: 10.4324/9781003030768

Published: 2022


Multilevel Grounding develops a new approach to musical meaning—Multilevel-Grounded Semantics, addressing the well-known paradox that music seems full of meaning yet there is little consensus among listeners on what exactly it is that this meaning communicates. Offering a balance between formalist and referentialist approaches, Antović’s theory proposes that musical signification emerges from constant cross-space mappings between the musical structure and the listener’s experience. The process is crucially constrained by several hierarchical and partly recursive levels of grounding: perceptual, schematically embodied, affective, conceptual, culturally elaborated, and individual. These levels are responsible for a range of phenomena that increase in complexity, from involuntary bodily responses to the manipulation of musical expectancies over cross-modal inferences relating the musical parameters to spatial domains to full-fledged experiential narratives accompanying the music, as in opera or film scoring. The book combines cutting edge insights from the fields of philosophy of mind, cognitive science, semiotics, linguistics, and music cognition, using a broad range of examples from traditional, classical, and popular world musics, into a theoretical system that shows how the focus on the grounding problem may help researchers convincingly resolve the apparent ungraspability of musical semantics.

About the author
Mihailo Antović is Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy, and Head Researcher at the Centre for Cognitive Sciences, University of Niš, Serbia. He has published extensively in the areas of cognitive linguistics, semantics, semiotics, and music cognition, including three books in Serbian and numerous articles in international journals and edited volumes. He is the recipient of Fulbright and Humboldt Fellowships.