Notes, Names and Iconic Signs

Begins 7:05

To continue Eco’s point: Proper names of unknown persons connote but do not denote.  For example, the name /David/ must refer to a man (an imprecise connotation) without knowing whom (no denotation).  There is not much difference between receiving the message /David/ and the message ascorbic acid.  It is not difficult to intuit that ascorbic acid is a chemical compound (an imprecise connotation) without knowing which chemical compound (no denotation).  Both these examples illustrate the imperfect possession of the codes of a group.

But signs in semiotic systems that are purely syntactic and have no apparent depth pose a different challenge of denotation and connotation.  Music is a typical example.  Defining the meaning of a graphic representation of a note of music is clear as it denotes a position, class of sound, mathematical values, and oscillographic and spectographic measures.  The problem is instead what and whether it denotes the note the graphic represents.

To recognise //Note C// a musician must hear it in relation to another/other note/s.  So the position of the note in relation to some other note is key to its recognition (p89).  A sign is present if it is interpreted, according to Eco.  This definition reverses Hjelmslev’s assertion that for a sign to be present it needs to be two planes and not conformal. Hjelmslev’s insistence on his point of non conformal disregards the entire range of ‘iconic’ signs, including the hammer and sickle as symbol of communism and the scales as symbol of justice.  According to Hjelmslev these iconic examples are depictions and emblems.  But, “to deny the nature of signs to conformal systems is to disregard a large portion of semiotic phenomena” (p89).  It is possible to consider these iconic symbols as signs because the ‘expression form’ coincides, to some extent, with the ‘content form’.  This brings us to the combinational rules of codes.

[SS I am so tired today I didn’t even really listen to what was being said but I have been wandering generally if you can refer to animal persons?  Or does a person denote and connote human?]

Ends 7:50

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