Music semiotics

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at providing fundamental concepts in music theory and harmony (with specific reference to the tonal language), by analyzing musical communication in its main building compoents (rhythmic, melodic, harmonic), and it its implications in terms of perception, affect-emotion, and cognition.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the student will have the knowledge and the understanding of the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic structures of the tonal language, of its functions, and of its perceptual, affective, and cognitive implications. Moreover, the student will acquire the ability to evaluate critically the expressive phenomenology of the tonal language, and will internalize the main concepts so to make them accessible with a clear and competent communication.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
Part I
Semiotic approach in music
Diachronic / synchronic microstructures (sense units)
Rhythmic / melodic minimum
Harmonic minimum
Tensional dynamics

Structures of the tonal system

System morphology
Thematic formalization
Harmonic formalization
Armolodic gradients
Concatenations and cadences
Secondary dominants
"Flat" and "Sharp" Agreements
The musical form

Part II

Disciplinary approaches

Music: movement, emotion, thought
Functions of music
The phonorelational approach: music/lyrics, instrumental music
The linguistic-musical approach
Musical practices: perception / production
The semiotic value: sign / symbol, musical symptom
Phenomenological-relational methodology
The song form: relationship, education, therapy
Prerequisites for admission
Prior knowledge is not requested. Being a first year couse, first semester, specific prerequisites are the ones required to be admitted to the Degree course, plus an active willingness to listen to music and vocal practice.
Teaching methods
The didactic approach intends to encourage the student to approach an analytical listening characterized, from a methodological point of view, by the synchronicity of the sound / sign relationship. For this reason, the teaching, in addition to the eminently theoretical assumption that configures it, places the audio-perceptive aspect at the center of the formative experience.
Together with the explanatory part conducted verbally, the lessons are characterized by musical examples to capture the sense of the sound event also on the relational, pedagogical and music therapy level.
The assignment of individual work is also envisaged.
Teaching Resources
Piston W., Armonia, E.D.T., Torino, 1989.
Cattaneo P., La canzone come esperienza relazionale, educativa, terapeutica, Ricordi, Milano, 2009.

Piston W., Armonia,E.D.T. - chapters and basic paragraphs for the deepening of harmony:
CAP I: Materiali della Musica
CAP II: Triadi
CAP III: Le successioni armoniche nel modo maggiore
CAP IV: Il modo minore
CAP V: Tonalità e modalità
CAP VI: Il primo rivolto; il basso numerato
CAP X: L'accordo di quarta e sesta
CAP XI: Cadenze
CAP XIII: La struttura armonica della frase (escluso pagine da 206 a 211)
CAP XIV: La modulazione
CAP XV: L'accordo di settima di dominante
CAP XVI: Dominanti secondarie
CAP XX: La progressione
CAP XXI: L'accordo di settima diminuita (escluso pagine da 326 a 333)
CAP XXIII: Gli accordi di settima secondaria (escluso pagine da 355 a 362)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam (Teams platform) in the form of an interview aimed at ascertaining the competences acquired both on a purely linguistic-musical level (tonal syntax), and on the level of the analytical peculiar perspectives of the teaching and the multiple interdisciplinary implications that derive from it.
Evaluation parameters: specific knowledge of the discipline; understanding and critical processing of the issues addressed; ability to exhibit with interdisciplinary links and appropriate use of language. The mark is expressed out of 30.
M-FIL/05 - PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF LANGUAGE - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Cattaneo Paolo