A narrative grammar of chopin's G minor ballade

Minds and Machines 2 (4):401-426 (1992)
Abstract
A new semiotic model for the generation of musical texts is introduced in this article. The idea of a generative grammar is here understood in the sense of the generative trajectory, a model elaborated by A. J. Greimas. Four levels are chosen from his trajectory for the study of musical texts, namely, those of isotopies, spatial, temporal and actorial categories, modalities and semes or figures.As an illustration, the G minor Ballade by Fr. Chopin has been examined through all these levels. The most formalized aspect of the analysis is constituted by what has been called a modal grammar of the piece (the term modality understood here in its philosophico-linguistic sense). The analysis tries to show how the musical form emerges from its inner processual traits, kinetic, epistemic and other aspects of a modal nature. It thus approaches for instance the problem of segmentation from the processual and dynamic nature of musical works. Moreover, the analysis is also an attempt to study the narrativity in music, since the narrative content of a piece like Chopin's G minor Ballade is clearly seen as the result of its modal processes.
Keywords Semiotics  modalities  narrativity in music  generative grammars  Chopin  ballades  structural analysis  musical signification
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