Skip to content
Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 23, 2013

Towards a social semiotics of rhythm in popular music

David Machin
From the journal Semiotica


There have been attempts to describe rhythm in technical and musicological terms, yet it has remained one of the most elusive aspects of music for theorists as it is comprised of a range of interacting sounds. This article explores the contribution that could be made by a social semiotic approach to rhythm in popular music. The paper provides an inventory of sound qualities that can be seen as a set of meaning potentials for the creation of certain kinds of “groove” or “movement” in music, since these have different kinds of associations in terms of ideas, moods, and attitudes.

Published Online: 2013-10-23
Published in Print: 2013-10-25

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston