Doing (things with) sounds: Introduction to the special issue
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This special issue aims at analysing music as a site of social semiosis, i.e. at investigating the manifold ways in which music is constituted as a socially shared event. The papers collected here follow three main threads, considered as central aspects of music making: studying the kind of coodination and participation required to make music together; looking at the semiotic resources employed by musicians to construct their roles in interaction; examining the relationship between language and music. A variety of perspectives is adopted, ranging from social semiotics to conversation analysis, anthropology, multimodal analysis and critical discourse analysis. Such a variety is also reflected in the musical traditions - Western art music, jazz, gospel, church hymns, pop music - and in the settings under examination, which comprise instructional activities like musical classes and rehearsals, as well as ordinary conversations and written accounts of musicians' biographies. Issues of epistemicity and authority, intersubjectivity, correction of musical action, solidarity and ideology are thereby addressed. The issue thus aims at exploring the richness and complexity of music making as a social practice, and documents how the integration of different disciplinary perspectives can offer fruitful insights on music as a domain of sociality which lies at the intersection of aurality and writing, norm and creativity, individuality and collectiveness.