Music as Multimodal Discourse

Music as Multimodal Discourse

by C. S. Way Lyndon

Lyndon C. S. Way is Associate Professor of media and communications at Izmir University of Economics, Turkey Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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and McKerrell Simon

Simon McKerrell is Senior Lecturer and Head of Music at Newcastle University, UK Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2017
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-4742-6442-6 (hardback)

    978-1-4742-6443-3 (epub)

    978-1-4742-6444-0 (epdf)

    978-1-4742-6441-9 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
Music as Multimodal Discourse
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We communicate multimodally. Everyday communication involves not only words, but gestures, images, videos, sounds and of course, music. Music has traditionally been viewed as a separate object that we can isolate, discuss, perform and listen to. However, much of music’s power lies in its use as multimodal communication. It is not just lyrics which lend songs their meaning, but images and musical sounds as well. The music industry, governments and artists have always relied on posters, films and album covers to enhance music’s semiotic meaning.

This book considers musical sound as multimodal communication, examining the interacting meaning potential of sonic aspects such as rhythm, instrumentation, pitch, tonality, melody and their interrelationships with text, image and other modes, drawing upon, and extending the conceptual territory of social semiotics. In so doing, this book brings together research from scholars to explore questions around how we communicate through musical discourse, and in the discourses of music. Methods in this collection are drawn from Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Semiotics and Music Studies to expose both the function and semiotic potential of the various modes used in songs and other musical texts. These analyses reveal how each mode works in various contexts from around the world often articulating counter-hegemonic and subversive discourses of identity and belonging.