The Afterword reframes this volume’s questions by arguing in favour of an emphasis on the communicative properties of song as an amalgam of words and music: the functions of song and of ordinary language overlap and coalesce in human practices. In place of the polar opposites that characterise nineteenth-century theory, what is proposed is a spectrum account of the language–music relation as an embodied cognitive event: how does human cognition manage the complex territory opened up by the synchronicities of music and language? This cognitive frame rests on the assumption that human activity, however far it reaches beyond the material ecology it arose from, is essentially local and situated. Songs are artefacts, special kinds of cognitive objects which have evolved within given cultural ecologies. Such artefacts are not one-way acts of human ‘intelligence’ doing things to the world, but the material form of an ecological relationship.
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