Re: infant studies, semiotics

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Mon Jan 17 2005 - 19:31:45 PST

Nice to hear from you Sophie!
   I wish I had had that Trevarthan refence sooner. Tomorrow
(yesterday for you?) I
teach using an article by Ellen Dissanayake called "Antecedents of the
temporal arts in Early mother-infant interactions from a book called
*The origins of music" edited by
Nils Wallin et al. Disananyake is finable on google and well worth
discovering re the
topics referecenced in this discussion.
   My lecture combines this material with Milan Kundera on theme and
variation and a lovely demonstration of intersensory coordination I
worked out with my colleague Gerry
Balzano (who actually understands music!). We made a dual track
recording of the Goldberg Variations which allows me to vary the
volume of theme and variation
independently, as a consequence of which students begin to hear the
theme underlying the variation form as I fade it in and out. Then I
put up only the spatial notation of the notes of the theme on a
reversable whiteboard. With only that visual-spatial information about
the theme, I can reduce its volume, yet the students (and I-- a
musical autodidact)
can continue to hear the theme through Glen Gould's flashing
variations -- the visual mediation of auditory structure.

A wonderful topic. And without a doubt related to the topic of
semieosis, although I could not specify how, exactly. After all, what
is the meaning of the music? (And why does
Gould keep singing it wordlessly?)

Back on earth, I am still puzzling my way through tools, signs,
symbols, meaning, intentionality, and those other oddities we have
been pawing at. Thanks to Pentti Hakarrainen, the new head editor of
Journal of Russian and East European Psychology we now have a
translation of VP Zinchenko writing about Gustav Shpet who had a LOT
to say about these issues that influenced Vygostsky, if VPZ and Jim
Wertsch are to be believed. And Shpet takes us back to von Humbolt.
Hmmm. Who is a precursor of
Sapir who is a precussor of Whorf. Hmmm...

And its all tightly connected with music. Amazing. At least as amazing
as our ability, sometimes, to create intersubjectivity in this medium.
tra la

On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 11:40:09 +1300, Sophie Alcock
<> wrote:
> Hi, Well it's not Clay, or Singer, but C.Trevarthen in the Uk who's written
> some interesting stuff on communication (and Intersubjectivity) musicality
> and infants. Getting back to the idea mentioned by Dianne about rhythm as
> being basic ... Trevarthen proposes an intrinsic motive pulse (IMP) that
> comprises:
> rhythmic time sense (beat, phrases, syllables)
> sensitivity for variations in intensity, pitch, timbre...,
> a perception of the narrative in "music"- in the emotional tone of the
> melody -
> I wondered what folk think of this biological emphasis? The link to
> literacy is communication, but the emphasis is wider than words. The
> reference I have is in Trevarthen, C. (2002). Origins of musical identity:
> Evidence from infancy for musical social awareness. In R. MacDonald, D.
> Hargreaves and D. Miell (Eds), Musical Identities Oxford University press.
> cheers
> Sophie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jay Lemke []
> Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 11:15 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: infant studies, semiotics
> This might have been a direction I would have sent research students if I
> had been in a different program years ago. There are students today who are
> quite interested. I would bet that some work in Australia has gone in this
> direction. There was certainly a lot of bubbling in the pot there around
> such questions 10 years ago.
> Anyone who knows what's been done in this direction, please clue us in!
> JAY.
> At 07:53 PM 1/13/2005, you wrote:
> Nice to read you online Diane. I'm not successful yet, but if burning out
> is they way there, i'm headed in the right direction.
> Mike,
> I just wish someone could take the research around the development of
> literacy such as by Marie Clay, Singer, and others, and respin them off
> their "processing" theoretical models to semiotic models. It seems like
> such an obvious thing to do. I could really build on that, but i can't
> build it.
> bb
> Jay Lemke
> Professor
> University of Michigan
> School of Education
> 610 East University
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> Tel. 734-763-9276
> Email.
> Website.

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