Meaning Of Music Meaning

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In “Music, Language, and Composition” Adorno, Theodor W. argues that “To interpret language means to understand language; to interpret music means to make music. Musical interpretation is the act of execution…”(115). However, in The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B Du Bois seems to point out that music carries intention, history, and experiences. Music could be a way to share one’s feelings and experiences that could not be expressed with the same emotional impact if they were just told through speaking. In other words, Du Bois seems to argue that music does have meaning and to understand music is to be able to express the intention behind or in the music. It is important to note that Adorno’s focus of music in “Music, Language, and Composition” is primarily classical music and Du Bois’ focus appears to be on music with lyrics. Therefore, music for Adorno had no explicit signifying words. However, rhythm and tone exist in both cases.
In “Music, Language, and Composition” Adorno acknowledges that music is like signifying language in many ways, from its structure to how it is formed. However, music is different from signifying language because it does not have to be created with a solid intention or meaning. In signifying language, the structure and combination of phrases to speech is, to some extent, strategic. The formation of signifying language is strategic because the goal of the formation of the phrase is to express something solid and with certainty as to what it’s meaning is. The words that are selected and the sentences that are formed from those words, were chosen and created because meaning needs to be told to others in an accurate manner, so that they’ll be able to understand that same meaning. As for music, Adorno seems to claim that, contrary to signifying language, the intent of which is to communicate a solid meaning, music does not need to have any firm goals related to meaning or solid intentions. Instead, the musician will make the music vague because in making the music ambiguous, the music will have the potential to link to multiple meanings that will vary based on the listener. In other words, the listener will be the one to decide the meaning.
To add to this, when Adorno says, “tthe whole is
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