Motion Expressions in Music Criticism

An Investigation of their Conceptual Motivation and their Metaphoricity

  • Nina Julich-Warpakowski Universität Leipzig


Music is commonly and conventionally described in terms of motion: melodies fall and rise, and motifs may follow a harmonic path. The thesis explores the motivation of musical motion expressions in terms of conceptual metaphors (Lakoff & Johnson 1999). Specifically, it analyses whether musical motion expressions are based on the time is motion metaphor (Johnson & Larson 2003, Cox 2016). Furthermore, the thesis investigates whether musical motion expressions are perceived as low in metaphoricity because of their conventionality in music criticism, and because of a more general association of music with motion, given that people often literally move when they make music and when they listen to music.