[Smt-talk] General term for movements, acts, numbers

Justin London jlondon at carleton.edu
Tue May 29 07:22:51 PDT 2012

Dear Richard & All

A caution against using the term "Satz", as it not only refers to section, but also movement, phrase, and, in contrast to periode, implies/means a particular kind of phrase structure in certain contexts (where is Bill Caplin when you need him?).  As "Satz" can refer to musical units of vastly different sizes, from less than 10 measures to an entire movement, the term is structurally ambiguous, which (at least for this scholar) might be confusing.

I'd throw my vote to Ralph Locke's "work-section" which, while cumbersome, at least makes the part/whole relationship clear.  

Justin London

P.S. And Ralph--while I love discussions of musical ontology, in this case we can take a hint from Potter Stewart and say that even if we don't know what a musical work is, we know one when we hear one . . .

On May 29, 2012, at 7:11 AM, Richard Lewis wrote:

> Dear All,
> Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. Many of them were good and
> generic: component, section, division, piece, work-section. However, I
> think it's quite important to have a more specific term here to avoid
> overlap with other concepts and to make the intended meaning clear.
> At Sat, 26 May 2012 17:44:05 +0000,
> Richard Porterfield wrote:
>> I believe the word Richard Lewis is looking for is the German
>> Satz. Not only does it serve the purpose, it is established in the
>> literature (see article by William Drabkin and Ingeborg Pfingsten in
>> NGO) and short.
> Thanks for this; it looks very promising. I wonder if I could ask the
> list for another opinion? If, as a scholar, you encountered this term
> in a thematic catalogue, would you understand its intended meaning?
> At Fri, 25 May 2012 20:17:05 +0000
> mwmorse at bell.net wrote:
>> Some interesting answers here. But isn't this in effect a database
>> problem? Tools from that world sound like the best solutions: Roman
>> numerals, subletters, and so on. Not elegant, but both more
>> functional and less frustrating than trying to coin logical
>> terminology.
> It is a database problem, but the problem is, what should I call the
> table that contains these things? I'd like to have them all in the
> same table because they can all have very similar relations with other
> entities in the database, e.g., they can be performed, they can be
> published, they can appear in manuscript, they can be mentioned in a
> letter, and, of course, they can form part of a work.
> At Fri, 25 May 2012 10:53:44 -0400,
> Locke, Ralph wrote:
>> As a further clarification to my suggestion ("work-section"), I
>> should add that, of course, part of the problem is with the
>> (ontological?) concept of what a "work" is.
> This is, of course, an important consideration and I attempt to model
> it in my database by allowing works (and parts of works, whatever they
> will be called!) to stand in a variety of derivation relations with
> each other.
> At Fri, 25 May 2012 12:39:37 -0400,
> Charles J. Smith wrote:
>> To my mind, the interesting question here is whether these concepts
>> are similar enough that trying to find a single covering term is
>> worth the effort.
> I believe the benefits of grouping them together for this particular
> project outweigh any potential loss of meaning. I refer, especially,
> to their participation in relations with other entities in the
> database.
>> If I were designing such a database, I'd try to design in some kind
>> of hierarchy. Why not a super-category of Movement/Act, and then
>> another smaller-scale category of Scene/Number/Division, to be used
>> only where necessary and otherwise left blank? That seems an
>> appealingly hierarchical solution.
> In fact, this is already part of my model. These parts of works can
> point to a "parent" and describe their relation with their
> "parent". This way, the hierarchy can go to any depth required,
> although, so far, two levels has been the deepest (acts <- scenes).
> Richard
> -- 
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> Richard Lewis
> ISMS, Computing
> Goldsmiths, University of London
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Justin London
Affiliated Researcher, Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge
Professor of Music (and other stuff), Carleton College
Department of Music
One North College St.
Northfield, MN 55057 USA
fax 507-222-5561
jlondon at carleton.edu

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