Categorial Grammar and Harmonic Analysis

Flávio S. Corrêa da Silva
Fábio Kon

Instituto de Matemática e Estatística da Universidade de São Paulo
Cx. Postal 66281 - 05389-970
São Paulo - SP - Brasil


It is rather commonplace in everyday conversation to refer to the "Language of Music" However, we believe the whole apparatus already built for the analysis of natural language has not been yet as thoroughly used for the analysis of musical phenomena as it could have been. In this article we present some initial ideas towards extending the application of this apparatus for the better understanding of "Music as Language".

In this paper, we apply some techniques from Categorial Grammar to represent a simple problem of music theory, which we believe nevertheless to be of widespread interest: functional harmonic analysis. We propose an encoding of the harmonic functions of chords as syntactic categories, and show how the generation of proofs of "harmonic well-formedness" of cadences can be implemented and used as a tool to verify and to display the functional harmonic structuring of cadences.

Keywords: music analysis, harmonic analysis, categorial grammar, syntactic calculus, substructural logics.