Songs without words

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Apr 25 06:29:00 UTC 2010

Robin Hamilton wrote:
> ....
> "The usage of "song" to mean "music contained in a single track" in software
> such as iTunes will doubtless accelerate this trend."
> Well, yes, this might be the case, if that were what iTunes indicates when
> it uses the term "song".  Here's the first relevant google hit, from the
> iTunes website:
> "The Country Throwdown Tour is giving away 7 free songs as a teaser before
> their tour. Here are the songs that you can download for FREE on iTunes."

Responding to this (tangential) point only ....

iTunes (at least my copy!) uses "song" to mean "track" or "audio file".
If I rip a CD containing a four-movement four-track symphony, all
instrumental, the software will inform me that there are "4 songs". If I
have another "album" containing 12 tracks/files of lessons in how to
speak Swahili, with no music whatsoever, the software will tell me that
there are "12 songs".

I suppose this is based on the assumption that any audio track
presumably contains a recording of somebody singing a 'song'. Probably
from the accountant's standpoint this is reasonable: I guess there are
not many spondulicks in recorded symphonies ... or language lessons ...
or famous speeches ... or bird calls (hmm, maybe the bird calls can be
called 'songs' anyway).

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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