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The Sound of Art: Soundscape in Pictorial Descriptions

Maria Elisa Fina


This study reports on an investigation of soundscape in twenty audiodelivered pictorial descriptions in English specifically designed for children, available on the official website of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan. The scripts of the pictorial descriptions were retrieved from the website’s dedicated section and annotated by means of QDA Miner Lite, a software for qualitative analysis. Drawing on van Leeuwen’s criteria for the analysis of soundscape (1999), the scripts were annotated according to a set of codes (type of speaker, speech, music, sounds, prosody) and then analysed in order to investigate how the different semiotic resources are combined to enhance children’s art experience. The results show that soundscape in the pictorial descriptions entails a complex web of significances, which challenge children’s observation skills and stimulate critical thinking. Furthermore, the use of soundscape may also result in edutainment strategies, which include gamification and dramatization.


Soundscape; Pictorial descriptions for children; Immersive triggers; Content-specific music; Evocative sounds.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2020-001-fina

Copyright (©) 2020 Maria Elisa Fina – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952

Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo

Editor-in-Chief: Roberta Mullini
Editorial Board: Maurizio Ascari - Stefano Beretta - Antonio Bertacca- Tania Collani - Chiara Elefante - Marina Guglielmi - Maryline Heck - Richard Hillman - Reinhard Johler - Stephen Knight - Cesare Mascitelli - Sonia Massai - Aurélie Moioli - Maria de Fátima Silva - Bart Van Den Bossche 

Editorial Staff: Margaret Amatulli - Alessandra Calanchi - Riccardo Donati - Ivo Klaver  - Massimiliano Morini - Antonella Negri - Luca Renzi

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