Dissertation Index

Author: Antonella Di Giulio

Title: Mapping Contemporary Works:
a Semiotic and Linguistic Approach to Music Analysis

Institution: University at Buffalo

Begun: September 2016

Completed: August 2021


This dissertation aims to propose a framework for the analytical investigation of the form-meaning association in contemporary music. While the analytical tool resulting from this research project stems from several research-based and interdisciplinary principles carried out across the cognitive science, its point of departure was primarily inspired by theories and hypotheses formulated by semiotician Umberto Eco. The main gist stems from the idea that the human act of creating any work is an act of manifestation and exterior embodiment of that same cognitive and creative process that connects and re-elaborates old information in a new way. The resulting analytical model considers structure in contemporary music according to the contemporary poetic proposed by Umberto Eco: “structures that move” and “structures within which we move.” This initial platform sets the basis for exploring the map of connections between form and meaning in a musical space, using deictics (attention shifters) as the primary source for identifying meaningful cues in a musical work. The collected data are organized in a Musical Information System (M.I.S.), a framework that aims to offer additional and complementary analytical tools linked to the decodification of the mechanism our mind uses to construct new knowledge and build structures. At the same time, the M.I.S. aims to gather information about the musical cues relevant to the analysis while connecting a form to meaning

Keywords: semiotics, mapping contemporary works, music analysis, linguistics



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