The Theory of Musical Content, Musical Hermeneutics and Musical Semantics: Similarity and Differences

Three basic trends in the studies of the meaning of music are examined for the first time: hermeneutics, which interprets music; semantics, which deals with meanings of various phenomena of music; content, which concerns both the expressive and notional essences of music. Hermann Kretzschmar is mentioned as the founder of musical hermeneutics (1902). Boris Asafʼyev’s priority in the introduction of the term ‘musical semantics’ in 1929 is stated. Analogous works by French, German, British and American authors are analyzed. It is stated that the theory of musical content has originated in Russia by the author of this article (since 1980).

The meaning of music, musical hermeneutics, musical semantics, musical content