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Presentation by Dr. Marc-André Rappaz

Musical Metaphors

Abstract: The emergence of the Affective Sciences is starting to generate new fields of research fostering new interactions between disciplines classically dissociated. The Geneva University of Music in partnership with the University of Geneva’s Interfaculty Center for Affective Sciences initiate a project to study, with the help of music theory, music practice, psychology and neuroscience, the relationships between conceptual metaphors, music, and emotion. Human brain has the ability to recognize and detect patterns in sounds, then to derive significance from them. But in the construction of meaning, some of the key elements of language (denotation and connotation) fundamentally differ from elements that build up musical meaning (like induction, interaction or association). In this talk, these three musical elements will be discussed and in particular an approach of musical expectancy through linguistic metaphor will be given. Our last research, that involves metaphors including the body, body parts or body functions as domains in the metaphoric mappings, will also be presented.

Bio: Marc-André Rappaz is Professor of harmony and music analysis at the Geneva University of Music and is the founder of the Group for Study and Research on Musical Metaphor. He studied violin, viola and music theory at the Geneva University of Music, mathematics, Chinese and computer science at the University of Geneva, and composition with Alberto Ginastera and Witold Lutoslawski. His current interests include various analytical approaches: set theory, Schenkerian and post-Schenkerian analysis, evolution of the generative theories and issues related to the syntax of tonal music, the evolution of the tonal system and the various temperaments including 31 equal temperament and microtonal music. He organised meetings with Benoît Mandelbrot and György Ligeti at the festivals Archipel, in Geneva, and Musiques en Scène, in Lyon, in which he also participated.


Jul 26 2013


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm




BRAMS - Suite 0120
1430 boul Mont Royal



BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research) is a unique laboratory dedicated to research excellence in the study of music and auditory cognition with a focus on neuroscience. BRAMS is located in Montreal and jointly affiliated with the University of Montreal and McGill University.


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