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date: 17 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Visual images abound in music theory and analysis. From scores to voice-leading sketches, spectrographs to transformational networks, and through all kinds of other graphics, theorists use images to present and persuade. As music-theoretic discourse becomes increasingly multimodal, the differences between words and images as modes of expression, as well as the nature of the conceptual work that each does in a particular case, become critical concerns. Informed by work in science and technology studies, cartography, information visualization, and visual studies, this chapter establishes a concept of mode and considers some of the various affordances and exigencies of visual images and verbal text. It then draws a conceptual distinction between two functions of visual images in music theoretic-discourse: visualization (to render information that is invisible in visual form; “to show”) and representation (to convey a specific analytic interpretation of what is shown; “to tell”), each illustrated by a series of examples.

Keywords: analytic interpretation, graphic, iconicity, image, multimodal text, representation, visual argument, visualization

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