Music and Motion

Alejandra Emilia Iannone


This paper explores the simultaneous occurrence and sometimes partnership of music and motion in the field of dance, within which motion and music are repeatedly linked and displayed. At the outset of the paper, I ask: How have simultaneous occurrences of and partnerships between music and motion been discussed? Are the conclusions of these discussions well grounded?  Do they provide a complete account of the relations between music and motion?

In addressing these questions, I argue for six main theses. First, music is partly constituted by motion in the sense that the constitutive element?in this case, motion?gives rise to the constituted element?in this case, music. Second, there are abstract motion-blueprints for motion, which are potential, and there is concrete motion, which is actual. Third, abstract motion-blueprints involve a reference to rhythm but are not rhythmic themselves, while concrete motion in music is quite often, if not always, rhythmic? where ?rhythm? is understood to mean recurring stress, release, and other repeated functions of entities. Fourth, music often involves concrete motion, and it is quite often, if not always, rhythmic. Fifth, abstract motion-blueprints and concrete motion can be and often are involved in music performance. Sixth, and finally, the relation between concrete motion and music is not uni-directional but bi-directional?i.e., the two do not exist in isolation from each other, but instead co-exist interactively. I call this a constitutive relation. I close the paper with discussion of this relation and why it is a more plausible and useful understanding of the relationship between music and movement.

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