Semiotic Analysis:. A Research Guide Presented by Megan Henley, Michelle Keddy, Benjamin Kinsman, Michelle Muggridge and Karen Shields. Introduction. Although the earliest origins of semiotics can be traced back to Aristotle and Augustine, it didn’t begin to be fully developed
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A Research Guide
Presented by Megan Henley, Michelle Keddy, Benjamin Kinsman, Michelle Muggridge and Karen Shields.
Although the earliest origins of semiotics can be traced back to
Aristotle and Augustine, it didn’t begin to be fully developed
until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Semiotics is a broad topic which can be applied to many different
fields, including media studies, theatre and music. Musical
semiotics is a complex and relatively new topic; consequently
materials explaining musical semiotics were very difficult to find
in our library. Thus, the following presentation will not explain
musical semiotics, but will show how one might further research
Basically, semiotics is the study of signs and their meanings!
Signs include words, gestures, images, sounds, and objects.
According to Ferdinand de Saussure, a founder of modern
semiotics,sign consists of two parts: the signifier (the form
which the sign takes) and the signified (the concept represents).
For example, an everyday example is a stop sign. In this
example, the physical sign is the signifier. The concept of
stopping is the signified.
However, signfiers can have multiple signifieds. Take the color
red for example:
“Semiotics is essentially a theoretical approach to communication
in that its aim is to establish widely applicable principles…It is
thus vulnerable to the criticism that it is too theoretical, too
speculative and that semioticians make no attempt to prove or
disprove their theories in an objective, scientific way.” (Fiske
“A musical phrase or even a tone has, as any musician...knows,
many possible kinds of signification and significance -- i.e.
‘meaning’.” (Coker 1972, 2)
S1 and S2
Negates both S1 and S2
Musical Semiotics is essentially a new concept of musical
analysis and is very subjective. Although it can be applied to all
forms of music, it is best used on chance and program music.
University of Aarhus Center for Semiotics Homepage
Semiotics for Beginners
Music Theory Online (go to All Issues, then, Search the
Database, then Order Form, select search type and enter
semiotics to get a list of articles on musical semiotics.)
Sites of Significance for Semiotics.
index.htmSemiotics of Music, presented by Eero Tarasti
Cyber Semiotic Institute.
What is Semiotics?
The American Journal of Semiotics
Semiotics - University of Colorado and Denver
http://www.azstarnet.com/~solo/ Solomon's Music Theory &
Canadian Semiotic Association
Semiotic Analysis of Images.