Course structure

The course will consist of six two-hour workshops to be taught on line via Zoom from 8th April 2022. It is free of charge, but applicants are asked to enrol in order to have access to the materials and link.

It will take place on Fridays and run for six weeks. Applicants are asked to select preferred time slots in the act of enrolment.

Session 1. Introduction

This first session is designed to introduce some of the issues to be covered on the course through a series of listening exercises and discussions, in which the participants’ personal associations and past experiences will be brought to bear.

Session 2. The building blocks of meaning

Music, like most other performing arts, draws much of its semiotic potential from the human body, so this session will explore the effects of tempo,  timbre, rhythmpitch and volume through analogy with human speech and movement. If time, there will also be a consideration of the physiological effects of producing or listening to music.

Session 3. Harmony and melody

Without delving too deeply into the complexities of musical theory, this session explores the semiotic potential of harmony and melody, looking at how this has been exploited by composers to represent character and narrative (as, for example, in musical adaptations of literary works).   

Session 4. The cultural dimension

This session explores the semiotic effects of form and genre, historically situated in the context of the Western tradition, with examples from different musical types.

Session 5. Preparing to translate

In this session, we will discuss, with reference to one or more pieces of music collectively chosen for the purpose, the way in which certain aspects of the musical semiotic could be represented in other art forms.

 Session 6. Translating from music

This final session will be devoted to the translation of a particular piece of music into other art forms of interest to the participants. This may be done individually or in groups, depending upon the makeup of the class.

Final exhibition:

The creations resulting from the course will be displayed in an online exhibition organised under the auspices of the Experiential Translation Network https://experientialtranslation.net/. Some may be included in an International Conference and Exhibition to take place in June 2022 at King’s College London.