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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Codes, Invention and a ‘Freaky, Funky Rave’.
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Codes, Invention and a ‘Freaky, Funky Rave’.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Publication date29/03/2004
Original languageEnglish


ConferenceSMA/RMA Study Day, 'Analysis and Compositional Process'
CityUniversity of Surrey
Period29/03/04 → …


In his book "The Limits of Interpretation" (1990), Umberto Eco draws on his ongoing concerns relating to coding, repetition and invention (see especially Eco 1976, 1979 and 1984) to frame his discussion of the ‘modern’ dialectic between ‘order and innovation’. Despite the assertion that ‘the limitations of interpretation coincide with the rights of the text’, the notion of an authorial voice, whilst not central to his theory, is by no means incommensurate. In a piece such as the third movement of Thomas Adès’s "Asyla" (Ecstasio), in which a late twentieth-century response to the symphonic tradition is combined, contrasted and juxtaposed with gestures and figurations drawn from contemporary club music, there exists a particularly complex interplay between conventional coding and novelty. In this paper I will demonstrate how Eco’s concept of ‘order and innovation’, when understood in the wider context of his general semiotic theory, can be used to ground an analysis of a work such as Ecstasio, highlighting some of the multiple (cultural) meanings that Adès invokes (intentionally or otherwise).

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