Introduction: Musik und Sprache: Music/Language/Speech

Redhead, Lauren. 2020. Introduction: Musik und Sprache: Music/Language/Speech. Contemporary Music Review, 39(3), ISSN 0749-4467 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The German phrase ‘Musik und Sprache’ has a dual meaning: both ‘music and speech’ and ‘music and language’. This is a commonly used phrase within the German speaking New Music community to refer to the field of music with spoken language, music that is derived from language and/or spoken utterances that are themselves music. This German phrase, in its potential to refer to any or all of these types of music, captures the ideas that are explored in this issue in relation to contemporary music practice, and its intersection with spoken performance, sound poetry, creative practices that involve music and text, and the consideration of the voice and its musical role. In English, the phrase ‘music and language’ might broadly refer to disciplinary positions across creative musical practice, music psychology, music aesthetics, music and literary criticism, and many more: taken together these disciplines offer a number of wide-ranging approaches to speech, language and the voice. While here, perspectives from some of these disciplines—in particular the philosophy of music and language (Sprachphilosophie), literary criticism, linguistics and the philosophy of the voice—inform the perspectives of a number of articles, the contemporary creative practice of music and language is the focus. Taken together, these articles explore this aspect of musical practice in specific examples of European, American and Australian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. In their variety, they broaden the available musicological discussion of examples of work situated between music, text, speech and language, with a focus on a wide variety of artists who do not yet frequently appear in such literature. They create a picture of an international and interdisciplinary body of work and its themes, interstices, and implications. As such, it is hoped that this issue will be of interest to those researching the individual composers whose work is explored, and to those with interests in sound poetry, Sprachmusik, and voice, speech and text within contemporary music more generally.

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11 August 2020Accepted
5 October 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Oct 2020 10:59

Last Modified:

15 Apr 2022 01:26

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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