Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon McKerrell
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This paper introduces the concept of ‘tonal gravity’ through a multimodal analysis of a YouTube video to demonstrate how multimodality is key to the construction of ‘Rule Britannia’ as a sectarian song. The analysis focuses upon the multimodal semiotics of social distance which has been a key concept in sociological and anthropological traditions in recent times. This concept offers a means to understand the social semiotic relationship between Self and Other in multimodal discourse. Following previous work in social semiotics and music studies which examine how visual composition, music and the voice have constructed social distance or expressions of intimacy, I introduce the concept of tonal gravity which extends the metaphors of semiotic space in previous work (Machin 2007; Van Leeuwen 1999) in the musical mode, to account for a fuller understanding of how music helps narrate the multimodal Self and Other. This is introduced via a close multimodal analysis of ‘Rule Britannia’ as a Rangers Football fan video which is only transformed into a sectarian text through multimodal collocation where different semiotic resources in various modes act in combination to produce a dominant Self actively prejudiced against a low Other.
Author(s): McKerrell S
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Social Semiotics
Online publication date: 31/07/2015
Acceptance date: 26/04/2015
Date deposited: 18/04/2017
ISSN (print): 1035-0330
ISSN (electronic): 1470-1219
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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