The aim of this article is threefold. Firstly, the article attempts to use pragmatic analysis in the context of musical and other theatrical performances. Secondly, it offers further support for the typology the author has proposed in previous articles. Here he relates to the silence in live theatrical and musical performances, which, it is argued, are instances of situational silence. Thirdly, against the background of Goffman’s frame analysis, in which the silence is regarded as a frame of the performance indicating that the performance is about to begin, and should not be regarded as part of the performers/audience interaction, the author argues that the silence is communicative for two major reasons: in certain registers of performances such as pop concerts silence does not occur at such junctures, and in musical performances, the silence of the audience and the performers may be considered part of the work.

The author, Dennis Kurzon, professor of linguistics at the University of Haifa, Israel, has carried out research on silence as a pragmatic phenomenon. His book The Discourse of Silence appeared in 1998, in which he analyzed, among other things, silence in Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron. Further articles on silence were published in 2007 and 2009. He has also written on legal language, especially from the perspective of speech act theory, on the sociology of languages in India, on adpositions, and on writing systems.

Read Dennis Kurzon’s article here