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Semiological approach

Musical semiology has been constructed with the intention to provide tools for analytical understanding of the musical work in its entirety including the socio-cultural context. (For an excellent overview of the history of musical semiology [Nattiez, 1989].) Attempting to move to a lower level of organization than that of musical notation may help to further clarify the issue in relation to a wider sphere of knowledge. (See Umberto Eco's discussion in [Eco, 1971, pp.372]).

The three dimensions

Molino reminds us that the hypothesis that there is a 'single, well-defined item of information to be transmitted, all the rest being simply noise' is 'dangerously inaccurate and misleading as soon as we move from the artificial communication of information to a concrete act of human communication as a total social fact.' Music, according to him, is a product and not a transmission. Hence Molino suggests a model for symbolic analysis on three levels; 'the poietic, the esthesic and the 'neutral' analysis of the object'. Three modes all representing the same work of art. The poietic level is the constructive phase, the esthesic is the interpretative phase and the neutral is the trace left by the poietic (or esthesic) process [Molino, 1990]. The tripartite model for analysis has also been proposed by another of the most important advocates for musical semiology, Jean-Jaques Nattiez:

...recognizing, elaborating, and articulating the three relatively autonomous levels (poietic, neutral and esthesic) facilitates knowledge of all processes unleashed by the musical work, from the moment of the work's conception, passing through its 'writing down', to its performance. [Nattiez, 1990]
In the first empirical study in Section 3.1 we focus mainly on the neutral level whereas in the second study (Section 3.2) we map the processes onto the poietic and esthesic levels of analysis.

Qualitative method

The video documentation from the collaboration between Love Mangs and Stefan Östersjö consists of many hours of recorded data from different occasions. The selection of video clips to be analysed in the present study was made on qualitative grounds, but not using the typical method of theoretical sampling. The selection was instead based on the pre-understanding (Vorverstehen)1of Östersjö's, having himself been part of the collaborative process. From his knowledge of the sessions and the recorded material Östersjö suggested some sections that he found especially interesting. This approach to the analysis of video material generated in artistic research has been previously discussed by Östersjö and Hultberg [Östersjö and Hultberg, 2005]. Similarly, the selections made for the other empirical study was made based on Frisk's pre-understanding of the processes leading up to the different versions of the material in that study.

Qualitative Method in machine-musician interaction

The selected video clips were transcribed verbatim by Frisk and Östersjö together. This turned out to be a very useful tool for the sake of keeping a detached and relatively objective point of view on the material. The transcription in turn was used as material for a graph that became an important analytical tool in the study. It was only at the point when the graph was produced that the implications of the study on machine-musician interaction started to materialise.

next up previous contents index
Next: Empirical study Up: Negotiating the Musical Work. Previous: Introduction   Contents   Index
Henrik Frisk, Stefan Ostersjo