I received some good feeback from my post last week briefly explaining musical meaning. Several were on Twitter:
— Daniel Wilson (@NinjaDan4287) May 29, 2014
— Stephen Halleck (@SHalleckmusic) May 31, 2014
One question I received on Twitter was whether I would provide some reading recommendations on the topic of musical meaning:
Here are some sources if you are interested in pursuing this topic.
Appendix C in John Makujina’s book does an excellent job dealing with it as well.
For musicologists’ and philosophers’ perspectives, I recommend the following books:
- What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland
- The Unanswered Question by Leonard Bernstein (originally a Harvard lecture; watch here)
- Musical Meaning and Expression by Stephen Davies
- Emotion and Meaning in Music by Leonard Meyer
- Feeling and Form by Susan Langer
- Introduction to a Philosophy of Music by Peter Kivy
Finally, I’ve dealt with the subject from various angles in some articles:
- I deal with the issue in my series on Christian rap and in my debate with Shai Linne.
- Particularly my response here.
- I presented this paper at BJU Seminary for several years.
- In this article, “Musical Relativism in Pelagian,” I link to the lecture series given by Makujina at DBTS and then give an argument myself (which may be somewhat of a repeat of the argument in the Christian rap series). I’d recommend Makujina’s lecture series as well, of course.
- Speaking of Makujina, he presented this paper at a regional ETS that deals with the issue from a similar perspective.
- I presented this paper (audio) at the Preserving the Truth Conference a few years back, in which I deal with the issue tangentially.
- This paper (audio) on form in hymnody deals with the issue of meaning in music.
- I deal with the issue from a multiculturalism perspective in this article. That whole series is worth reading in this regard.
What else would you recommend? I’ll update the post with good suggestions.