Conceptualising Music: Metaphors of Classical Music Reviews


  • Inesa Šeškauskienė Vilnius University
  • Totilė Levandauskaitė Vilnius University



metaphor, classical music, review, conceptualization, domain, genre


The present paper sets out to examine music-related metaphors in classical music reviews written in English. Previous researchers working in the framework of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory have identified several music metaphors. One of the key domains of music conceptualization seems to be motion. However, their methodology of research did not rely on actual language data and on many occasions was discussed as debatable. The second generation cognitive linguists have focused on corpus and corpus-related methodologies of metaphor identification, elaborated many crucial concepts and thus questioned many ideas of previous researchers. The present paper relies on MIP methodology, or metaphor identification procedure, elaborated by a group of cognitive linguists and further updated by the Amsterdam group in Vrije University. The findings suggest that the MOTION metaphor features in the collected data most prominently. This metaphor together with CONTAINER and LINGUISTIC CREATION metaphors account for almost two thirds of all linguistic metaphors. Presumably, they structure classical music reviews and underlie our reasoning about classical music to a very large extent. Also a large number of linguistic metaphors tend to be more innovative than dead. The more innovative the metaphor, the more evaluative it is. A rather explicit evaluation (positive or negative) is part of the review genre.


Author Biography

Inesa Šeškauskienė, Vilnius University

Department of English Philology, Associate Professor