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Song Beyond the NationTranslation, Transnationalism, Performance$
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Philip Ross Bullock and Laura Tunbridge

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197267196

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197267196.001.0001

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(p.269) Afterword
Song Beyond the Nation

Terence Cave

British Academy

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.

Keywords:   Language, Poetry, Song, Artefact, situated cognition

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