IN TUNE or Colonized ART?


  • Per Dahl



Communication, Intention, Identification, Interpretation, Music meaning


The expression 'in tune' is established among musicians and music lovers but is also used allegorically in other contexts. I present a multi-layered model of communication that can unveil the background and diverse logic establishing concepts we use on artefacts and their expressions. The model can be seen as a tilted version of Ogden's triangle, where the fundamental element is the arbitrary connection between the sign and its expression. The model develops several layers of concepts to make an analysis of what colonized art is. Examples from music demonstrate that the expression 'in tune' is a colonized understanding of certain structures of scale systems developed within a historical and socioeconomic context. This kind of understanding makes adjustments to the intentions of a musical expression, as well as to the identification and interpretation of a musical performance.

Author Biography

Per Dahl

Faculty of Performing Arts
Department of Classical Music
University of Stavanger


Agawu, V. K. (2009). Music as discourse : semiotic adventures in romantic music. Oxford University Press.

Bacon, F. e. a. (1990). Advancement of learning ; Novum Organum ; New Atlantis (2nd ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica.

Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Penguin.

Bohr, N. (1987). The philosophical writings of Niels Bohr : 3 : Essays 1958-1962 on atomic physics and human knowledge (Vol. 3). Ox Bow Press.

Bonds, M. E. (2006). Music as thought : listening to the symphony in the age of Beethoven. Princeton University Press.

Bonds, M. E. (2014). Absolute music: the history of an idea. Oxford University Press.

Budd, L. H., & Rajesh, T. (2017). Decolonization of knowledge, epistemicide, participatory research and higher education. Research for all, 1, 6-19.

Chua, D. K. L. (2017). Beethoven & freedom. Oxford University Press.

Clayton, M., Herbert, T., & Middleton, R. (2012). The cultural study of music : a critical introduction. Routledge.

Cook, N. (2003). Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky. In J. Cross (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Stravinsky (pp. 176-191). Cambridge University Press. (Reprinted from 2005)

Dahl, P. (2008). Anvendt musikkestetikk: en innføring. Unipub.

Dahl, P. (2019). Where Is the Essence of a Musical Work? In R. Stanevičiūtė, N. Zangwill, & R. Povilionienė (Eds.), Of Essence and Context. Between Music and Philosophy. Springer.

Dahl, P. (2022). Modes of communication in Stravinsky's works : sign and expression. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Davies, S. (2001). Musical works and performances: a philosophical exploration. Clarendon Press.

Dreyfus, H., & Dreyfus, S. (1991). Towards a phenomenology of ethical expertise. A Journal for Philosophy and the Social Sciences, 14(4), 229-250.

Fuhrmann, W. (2011). Toward a theory of socio-musical systems: Reflections on Niklas Luhmann's challenge to music sociology. Acta musicologica, 83(1), 135-159.

Gadamer, H.-G. (1960). Wahrheit und Methode: Grundzyge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik. Mohr.

Goehr, L. (2007). The imaginary museum of musical works: an essay in the philosophy of music. Oxford University Press.

Kahneman, D. (2012). Thinking, fast and slow. Penguin Books.

Lehmann, A. C., Sloboda, J. A., & Woody, R. H. (2007). Psychology for musicians : understanding and acquiring the skills. Oxford University Press.

Long, M. (1973). At the piano with Ravel. Dent.

Luhmann, N. (1995). Social systems. Stanford University Press.

Luhmann, N. (2000). Art as a social system. Stanford University Press.

Mignolo, W. D. (2011). The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Cambridge: Duke University Press.

Mignolo, W. D. (2020). On decoloniality: second thoughts. Postcolonial studies, 23(4), 612-618.

Ogden, C. K., Richards, Ivor, A,. (1974/1923). The meaning of meaning : a study of the influence of language upon thought and of the science of symbolism. Harper Paperbacks.

Piaget, J. (1971). Psychology and epistemology: towards a theory of knowledge. Viking.

Plotnitsky, A. (2002). The knowable and the unknowable : modern science, nonclassical thought, and the "two cultures". University of Michigan Press.

Sterne, J. (2003). The Audible past : cultural origins of sound reproduction. Duke University Press.

Stravinsky, I. (1936/1990). An Autobiography 1903-1934. Marion Boyars.

Stravinsky, I. (1972). Themes and conclusions. Faber.

Tuck, E., . Wayne Yang, K. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 1-40.

Vadén, T., Hannula, M. & Suoranta, J. (2005). Artistic Research - theories, methods and practices.

Vollsnes, A. O. e. (2000). Norges musikkhistorie: 4 : 1914-50 : inn i mediealderen (Vol. 4). Aschehoug.

Wallas, G. (1926). The art of thought. London.

White, E. W. (1979). Stravinsky : the composer and his works (2nd ed.). Faber and Faber.




How to Cite

Dahl, P. (2023). IN TUNE or Colonized ART?. PlaySpace (PS) , 2(1), 31–40.

Most read articles by the same author(s)