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  • Author: Rosina Caterina Filimon x
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The topic approached in this paper aims to identify the structural similarities between the verbal and the musical language and to highlight the process of decoding the musical message through the structural analogy between them. The process of musical perception and musical decoding involves physiological, psychological and aesthetic phenomena. Besides receiving the sound waves, it implies complex cognitive processes being activated, whose aim is to decode the musical material at cerebral level. Starting from the research methods in cognitive psychology, music researchers redefine the process of musical perception in a series of papers in musical cognitive psychology. In the case of the analogy between language and music, deciphering the musical structure and its perception are due, according to researchers, to several common structural configurations. A significant model for the description of the musical structure is Noam Chomsky’s generative-transformational model. This claimed that, at a deep level, all languages have the same syntactic structure, on account of innate anatomical and physiological structures which became specialized as a consequence of the universal nature of certain mechanisms of the human intellect. Chomsky’s studies supported by sophisticated experimental devices, computerised analyses and algorithmic models have identified the syntax of the musical message, as well as the rules and principles that underlie the processing of sound-related information by the listener; this syntax, principles and rules show surprising similarities with the verbal language. The musicologist Heinrich Schenker, 20 years ahead of Chomsky, considers that there is a parallel between the analysis of natural language and that of the musical structure, and has developed his own theory on the structure of music. Schenker’s structural analysis is based on the idea that tonal music is organized hierarchically, in a layering of structural levels. Thus, spoken language and music are governed by common rules: phonology, syntax and semantics. Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff develop a musical grammar where a set of generating rules are defined to explain the hierarchical structure of tonal music. The authors of the generative theory propose the hypothesis of a musical grammar based on two types of rules, which take into account the conscious and unconscious principles that govern the organization of the musical perception. The structural analogy between verbal and musical language consists of several common elements. Among those is the hierarchical organization of both fields, a governance by the same rules – phonology, syntax, semantics – and as a consequence of the universal nature of certain mechanisms of the human intellect, decoding the transmitted message is accomplished thanks to some universal innate structures, biologically inherited. Also, according to Chomsky's linguistics model a musical grammar is configured, one governed by wellformed rules and preference rules. Thus, a musical piece is not perceived as a stream of disordered sounds, but it is deconstructed, developed and assimilated at cerebral level by means of cognitive pre-existing schemes.


Musical-theatrical pieces of the nineteenth century, propagated by Italian, French and German troops, were an inspiration for Romanian composers. They will create similar fashionable musical theatre genres, in Romanian, for entertainment purposes. Works placed on the border between vaudeville and the lyrical genre can be identified in the creation of the newly emerging genre of operetta: such pieces are the compositions of Alexandru Flechtenmacher, Eduard Wachmann, Eduard Caudella. In the cultural atmosphere of the time, patriotic musician Ciprian Porumbescu (1853-1883) would find the perfect way to put a longstanding artistic wish into practice: to compose an operetta, following the success of his humorous musical-theatre pieces Cisla and Candidatul Linte [Candidate Linte]. A multifarious personality, a lover of folklore and of his nation, Ciprian Porumbescu – one of the founders of the national school of music – contributed to the authenticity and identity of the Romanian musical language through his extensive works; one important contribution is the composition of the first Romanian cultivated operetta Crai Nou [New Moon] (1882). As a tribute to his art, on the centenary of his birth, the creator of the operetta Crai nou becomes the protagonist of the operetta Lăsați-mă să cânt [Let me sing] (1954) by Gherase Dendrino, set during the time of the staging of Porumbescuʼs musical-dramatic work. Crai Nou and Lăsați-mă să cânt are highlights of the Romanian lyrical theatre, from the artistic past and present, and hold their position as musical pieces frequently performed and received with interest and enthusiasm.