Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Conference papers

“Scalinatèlla”, “Le petit chemin de pierres”, “Дорога надежды” : pour le problème des nomadismes musico-sémantiques

Abstract : The problem of musical semantics is an old dilemma of the music theory. On the one hand, it would be too daring to conclude that in music there was no dimension related to meaning, on the pretext of the absence of referential, or denotative, relations between the melodico-rhythmic signifier and the extramusical signified (or referent). On the other hand, the vagueness of such relations, as well as their sometimes conditional, sometimes subjective, character, oblige us to distinguish between semantics in linguistics and “semantics” in music. It remains to define on what relies the analogy in both cases and how the semantic function within the musical sign takes place. We will discuss these issues on the material of three versions of a Neapolitan song transposed poetically and musically into two other cultural traditions: 1. "Scalinatèlla" [“little stairway”] (Neapolitan version ; music G. Cioffi, lyrics E. Bonagura, 1948 ; performer R. Murolo) ; 2. "Le petit chemin de pierres" [“little stone path”] (French version ; music G. Cioffi, lyrics E. Bonagura, adaptation J. Patrick, 1956 ; performer Dalida) ; 3. "Дорога надежды" [Doroga nadezhdy, “path of hope”] (Russian version ; music G. Cioffi, lyrics V. Krylov, 1958 ; performer N. Timtchenko). The interest of the Neapolitan original consists in the mimetic poetic-musical configuration, correlative to a series of perceptual and cognitive images identifying a young girl with a long narrow stairway, by which she should descend, that is created through the evolution of the psychosomatic state of the lyric hero during the failed love story narration. The French version operates a curious temporal inversion (the memory replaces the expectation), a genre inversion (the narrator is a woman) and a transformation, poetic and musical, of the steps of a little stairway into the stones of a little path. At the same time, the melismatic pattern of the original song is strengthened and acquires a rather mimetic proprioceptive than purely emotional function. The Russian version involves a cinematographic allusion that is based on the Italian film "Il cammino della speranza" (1950), which tells a story of friendship and love developing in the background of the struggle of the working class against unemployment, social precariousness and exploitation. Very close to the Neapolitan original, this version retains the idea of the quest for happiness, not only of personal happiness but of that deeply rooted in the common destiny of a socioprofessional community (in the film, there are Sicilian miners who are forced to escape Italy trying to pass the mountain frontier with France, while in Russian version there is an allusion to a “mountain iron-shod boot” of the narrator “tired of following his steep path”), and, thus, at the poetic level, radically changes the system of the original artistic image. The objective of our analysis will therefore be to identify and describe a series of synesthetic, cognitive, linguistic and cultural mechanisms governing certain musico-semantic nomadisms in the history of music.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Haki Shtalbi Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 11:03:17 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 3:15:28 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-03033090, version 1


Evelina Deyneka, Natalia Govar, Anna Leone. “Scalinatèlla”, “Le petit chemin de pierres”, “Дорога надежды” : pour le problème des nomadismes musico-sémantiques. Colloque scientifique international transdisciplinaire « PHÉNOMÈNE DE NOMADISME dans la culture, la littérature et la communication langagière : aspects philosophiques, sémiotiques et anthropologiques », Université de Warmie et Mazurie, Olsztyn, Pologne, Jun 2017, Olsztyn, Pologne. pp.27-29. ⟨hal-03033090⟩



Record views