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From Quantum Information to Musical Semantics

Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara, Roberto Giuntini, Elenora Negri and Riccardo Luciani

What link might connect two far worlds like quantum physics and music? There is something universal in the mathematical formalism of quantum theory that goes beyond the limits of its traditional physical applications. We are now beginning to understand how some mysterious quantum concepts, like superposition and entanglement, can be used as a semantic resource for a formal analysis of theoretic situations where ambiguity, holism and contextuality play a relevant role. Against the analytical tradition (inspired by classical logic) the semantics suggested by quantum information has reversed the relationship between whole and parts: it is the information about the whole that determines the information about the parts; and once broken into
its parts, the puzzle cannot be reconstructed again!

The authors of this book (two quantum logicians, a musicologist and a composer) accompany the reader in a fascinating journey where some celebrated quantum enigmas are interlaced with questions that arise in the framework of music: do musical compositions have any meanings? How can we describe the critical relationship that holds between a musical score and an interpretation
thereof? What can be said about the ambiguous link that connects text and music in the case of Lieder and of lyric operas? In what sense can different musical forms be superposed in the framework of one and the same composition?

The style of the book is intuitive and does not presuppose any technical background either in science or in music.

September 2012


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