United in their indebtedness to the scholarship of Raymond Monelle, an international group of contributors, including leading authorities on music and culture, come together in this state of the art volume to investigate different ways in which music signifies. Music semiotics asks what music signifies as well as how the signification process takes place. Looking at the nature of musical texts and music's narrativity, a number of the essays in this collection delve into the relationship between music and philosophy, literature, poetry, folk traditions and the theatre, with opera a genre that particularly lends itself to this mode of investigation. Other contributions look at theories of musical markedness, metaphor and irony, using examples and specific musical texts to serve as case studies to validate their theoretical approaches. Musical works discussed include those by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Stravinsky, Bart?Xenakis, Kutavicius and John Adams, offering stimulating discussions of music that attest to its beauty as much as to its intellectual challenge. Taking Monelle's writing as a model, the contributions adhere to a method of logical argumentation presented in a civilized and respectful way, even - and particularly - when controversial issues are at stake, keeping in mind that contemplating the significance of music is a way to contemplate life itself.