Publication details [#6379]

Johnson, Mark L. and Steve Larson. 2003. 'Something in the way she moves': Metaphors of musical motion. Metaphor and Symbol 18 (2) : 63–84. 22 pp.


Our most fundamental concepts of musical motion and space, used by lay people and music theorists alike, are defined by conceptual metaphors that are based on our experience of physical motion. We analyze the 3 most important metaphors of musical motion: the "MOVING MUSIC" metaphor, the "MUSICAL LANDSCAPE" metaphor, and the "MOVING FORCE" metaphor. We show how each metaphor is grounded in a particular basic experience of physical motion and physical forces and how the logic of physical motion shapes the logic of musical motion. We suggest that our conceptualization of, discourse about, and even our experience of musical motion depend on the logic of these 3 metaphors. (Mark Johnson and Steve Larson)