Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Iverson, Jennifer

First Committee Member

Cook, Robert C

Second Committee Member

Platte, Nathan R


Metaphor is an important tool for describing musical structure and interpretation. Recent research suggests that metaphor goes beyond a linguistic device; we use conceptual metaphor frameworks and cross-domain mapping based upon our embodied experiences to understand our world around us. I review the linguistic origins of metaphor theory and show how the purview of metaphor theory has recently extended into cognitive domains through a case study, primarily using the work of metaphor scholar Zoltán Kövecses. I then review how two prominent music theorists--Michael Spitzer and Lawrence Zbikowski--have developed current theories of metaphor to refine their approach to music analysis. These sources provide an effective backdrop into my case study of isomorphic conceptual underpinnings of metaphors used in two prominent analytical essays in music theory, Donald F. Tovey's, "Tonality" and David Lewin's "Music Theory, Phenomenology, and Modes of Perception." Finally I utilize conceptual metaphor and cross-domain mapping to support my analysis of the tonal role of C♯/D♭ in Beethoven String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, op. 59, no. 1, first movement, and hexatonic cycles in Schubert Piano Trio in E♭ Major, D. 929, first movement. My analyses aim to elucidate the isomorphic aspects of evocative and useful metaphors in music analysis that help us engage with music in a deeper, nuanced manner.


Conceptual Metaphor, Music Analysis, Music Theory


vii, 106 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 104-106).


Copyright 2014 Matthew Park Custer

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