Publication details [#1886]

Antović, Mihailo. 2009. Musical metaphors in Serbian and Romani children: An empirical study. Metaphor and Symbol 24 (3) : 184–200. 17 pp.


This study tested to what extent young listeners metaphorically conceptualize basic musical relations. Ninety children aged 11 (30 attending a music school and 30 Serbian and 30 Romani children with no musical education) were played 5 stimuli with mutually opposed musical elements and asked to respond what the first and what the second one was like. Their answers were classified into metaphors according to the tenets of the conceptual metaphor theory. The results suggest an overwhelming dominance of metaphorical replies, in which most mappings were based on image schemas within a predominantly visual-spatial modality. There were some differences in conceptualizations, however, with "high and low" tones also perceived as "big and small," or "upward" musical motion seen as "forward." This article analyzes the possibility of finding a common denominator for seemingly disparate replies, where the study of musical conceptualization might be instrumental in the cognitive semantic quest for metaphorical universals. (Mihailo Antovic)