Moving beyond motion: Metaphors for changing sound

Robert Adlington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that music offers experiences of change that are at odds with our common understanding of time. Specifically, I question the widespread belief that onward motion is a condition of musical temporality. I approach this issue through metaphor theory, which tends to argue for the necessity of metaphorical experiences of time and music in terms of motion. I argue that music’s changing sound evokes a variety of bodily metaphors; motion is not ever-present, but intermingles with metaphors of heat, light, weight, tension and so on. Works by Ligeti, Carter, Kurtág and Saariaho are discussed as case studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-318
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the Royal Musical Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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