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 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 this topic. Semiotics 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). Semiotics 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. =the signifier STOP!!! =the signified Semiotics However, signfiers can have multiple signifieds. Take the color red for example: APPLE FIRE RED Love Blood Problems with Semiotics “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 1982, 118) “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) Semiotic Terms Semantics: the relations of signs to their contexts and to what they signify. Syntactics: the kinds of signs, their ordering, and their relations to one another. Pragmatics: the ways in which signs are used and interpreted. The Semiotic Square Opposites give each other meaning. For example, black & white, love & hate. Binary Opposition: One signifier (A) vs. another signifier (B) For example, good guy vs. bad guy, tonality vs. modality. Semiotic Square: A visual representation of the logical articulations of any semantic category. Semiotic Square The semiotic square diagrams the ways in which, starting from any given term, a complete meaning system can be derived through exhaustion of logical possibilities. This is accomplished by developing the traditional logical concepts of contradictory (diagonal arrows) and contrary (horizontal arrow) The Semiotic Square opposite S1 Past S2 Future Present SAtemporality S1 2 Negates both S1 and S2 Mediates between S1 and S2 A Musical Example vouloir être Actor D vouloir faire Actor A Actor B Actor C vouloir non-faire vouloir non-être Historical Context 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. Websites http://www.hum.aau.dk/semiotics/ University of Aarhus Center for Semiotics Homepage http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dgc/semind.html Semiotics for Beginners http://boethius.music.ucsb.edu/mto/mtohome.html 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.) http://www.epas.utoronto.ca:8080/french/as-sa/EngSem1.html Sites of Significance for Semiotics. Websites http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/french/as-sa/ASSA-No4/ index.htm Semiotics of Music, presented by Eero Tarasti http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/epc/srb/cyber/cyber.html Cyber Semiotic Institute. http://the-duke.duq-duke.duq.edu/notes/viz4/intro.htm What is Semiotics? http://www.letsdeviant.com/semioticslink.html Semiotics Links http://www.sla.purdue.edu/semiotics The American Journal of Semiotics Websites http://www.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/semiotics.html Semiotics - University of Colorado and Denver http://www.azstarnet.com/~solo/ Solomon's Music Theory & Composition Resources http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/arts/music/semimusi.htm Bibliographic sources http://www.er.uqam.ca/nobel/rssi/rssihe.html Canadian Semiotic Association Website http://www.newcastle.edu.au/department/fad/fi/woodrow/ semiotic.htm Semiotic Analysis of Images.