Music in hypertexts: towards a real media integration

Music in Hypertexts: Toward a Real Media Integration

Francesca Chiocci, University of Siena

This document reports on a research in progress I am conducting during my final year at the University of Siena (Italy), Department of Communication Sciences; the research is supervised by Prof. Peppino Ortoleva (course of Theory and Techniques of New Media).


In general, multimedia hypertext is a medium in which the contents are entrusted mostly to text and images, whereas the music is often used only to create an agreeable background. The goal of this research is to examine all the possible uses of music in a hypertext to implement a new conception of multimedia language, so as to make music a real carrier of information and knowledge, at the same level of textual and visual codes.

1. Hypertext and Multimedia: A Survey of the Current Situation

Starting from the analysis of a sample of the existing multimedia hypertexts, a typology will be defined to figure out several models and functions of hypertextuality:

According to the hypertextual model at stake, the use of music will be different.

In relation to this reasoning on hypertext, there is that one about multimedia. According to the state of the art of available production, we can give this word several meanings: it can be defined as a system to connect different languages as text, images, sound (author level); or a system to connect different senses (reader level); or a system to organize a great deal of heterogeneous materials (e.g. multimedia hypertexts that are simple data-bases); or as a mean to attract attention and interest.

Also in this case, the various ways to intend multimedia strongly affect the use of music, which is a medium among the other media and at the same time a sensorial experience, in other words a carrier of information and emotion.

2. Semiotics, Syntax and Pragmatics of Music in Hypertexts

In general, except the case of a musical hypertext (e.g. a hypertext about Beethoven or he Aerosmith), the music is not much more than a background, a resonant wall paper for a pleasant navigation. But, studying in depth the rhetoric of the hypertext, different and more profound functions can be found at three levels:

As it is evident, the three levels partially intersect, so what is said at one level is also relevant for the other two.

3. Experimental Section

As an application of the research, there is in progress an experimentation for the construction of a music-based hypertext by testing the compatibility between some musical forms and different kinds of hypertexts ("pure", hierarchical, semi-hierarchical).

Mail to Francesca Chiocci

Cyberspace Web Hypertext