Is Music a Language? (the seed)

A brief thought. I am reminded by a discussion two years ago with a well known ethnomusicologist and a brilliant music composer-theorist, about whether music is a language or not.

The ethnomusicologist said no, because there wasn’t a system of semantic meaning in musical expression.

The composer said yes, because music expresses meanings.

I watched this clip, from an old favourite movie (I grew up on a diet of this stuff), and was reminded about this debate, which ended in a round of drinks and cheesy baked potato skins.

Of course, this clip is a film clip, which is made up of visual image, narrative, movement as well as sound and music. Makes things a lot more complicated, I guess. However, without meaning to sit on a fence here, since they are both my good friends, I do think they both had a point. Yes, we do argue endlessly on perspectives and semantics don’t we? Thank goodness for drinks and potato skins! (And for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers too.)

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