Jamming in a Semiotic Scope

13. Mar 2014

By Lars Brinck

Spontaneous musical communication between musicians has been looked upon from different perspectives during the recent years.

In this article the spontaneous communication as performed by funk musicians is analysed through the lense of semiotics, as signs, using the theoretical works of Jacobson, Peirce, Saussure and Barthes based on the author's experience as a jamming musician.
Jam in this sense being a musical activity where the musicians beforehand have no conceptual rules, songs or arrangements but are forced to rely only on the communication with the other musicians in 'the spur of the moment' – and then mix, put together, jam musical whole based on only musical statements.
The article raises and discusses the question:
'Does musical communication regarded as a semiotic system of signs provide a more profound understanding of the musicians' spontaneous actions during a jam session?'

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