Eero Tarasti


Personal information:

Complete name: Eero Aarne Pekka Tarasti

b. 27.9.1948 in Helsinki

Spouse: Eila Marita Elisabet Tarasti,  pianist and musicologist

Title: Professor of Musicology, Semiotician


Studies at the University of Helsinki 1967-1975

Ph.D. at the University of Helsinki 1978

Music studies (piano) at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki 1967-1975

Studies abroad:


  • Vienna 1972
  • Paris 1973 (Ecole Normale de Musique), with Jacques Février


  • Paris 1974-75  (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)
  • Rio de Janeiro 1976  (Universidade Federal)


  • Professor of Arts Education, University of Jyväskylä (Middle Finland) 1979-83
  • Professor of Musicology, University of Jyväskylä 1983-84
  • Professor of Musicology, University of Helsinki, since 1984

Other Academic Activities:

  • President of the IASS/AIS (International Association for Semiotic Studies), since 2004
  • Vice-President of the IASS/AIS in 1990-2004
  • Founder and President of the Semiotic Society of Finland, since 1979
  • Founder and President of the Music Society of University of Helsinki, since 1989
  • Director of the International Semiotics Institute at Imatra, Finland  (ISI) since its foundation in 1988
  • Director of the international research project Musical Signification since 1986
  • Director of the Finnish Network University of Semiotics, since 2004
  • Director of the research project “Philosophies of performance” at Finnish Academy  of Sciences (2008-09)
  • Research director (part-time) at the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi (2008- )


  • Fellow of the Japan Foundation 1991
  • Fellow of the Advanced Studies Institute at the Indiana University, Bloomington in 1993
  • Research Associate at the RCLSS (Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies, IU; Bloomington) in 1987 and 1994
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Paris I, Sorbonne in the Spring of 1995
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Tartu, Estonia,  1997-98
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1999
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Paris VIII, 2002
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Aix en Provence, 2002
  • Poste d’accueil pour recherche par CNRS/Université de Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), 2008
  • Part-time research director at the University of Lapland, Finland, from 2008
  • Director of the EU project ‘Paneuropean Doctoral Program in Semiotics’ from 2009
  • Membre  du Conseil Scientifique & Ecole Doctorale Arts Plastiques, esthétique et sciences de l=art, Université de Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne, since 1998
  • Member of  the Board at Istituto Superiore Scienze Umane (directed by Umberto Eco), Bologna, since 2005
  • Guest lectured in almost all the European Countries, Russia, United States, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Japan
  • Organized over 80 international symposia in Finland and abroad


  • Member of the Executive Committee of the IASS/AIS (International Association for Semiotic Studies) since 1979-
  • Member of the Academia Europaea since 1987
  • Member of the Academy of Informatization, Moscow since 1994
  • Member of the Board of the South-Eastern European Semiotic Center, Bulgaria, since 2000
  • Member of the Grant Selection Committee for the International Kyoto Prize, Japan, 1996
  • Member of the Wihuri Foundation International Prize Committee 2000,2003, 2005 and 2009
  • President of the Finnish Musicological Society 1995-98
  • President of the Finnish Society for Aesthetic 1986-87
  • Member of the Finnish Science Society since 1998
  • Member of the Scientific Academy of Finland since 1990
  • Member of the Board of Niilo Helander Foundaton
  • Member of the Board of Pro Musica Foundation
  • Member of the Board of Promotion of Finnish Art Music Foundation
  • Member of the International Editorial Board of “Seemiootikee”, Sign Systems Studies, University of Tartu
  • Member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal “DeSignis” (Publicacion de la Federación Latinoamericana de Semiótica)
  • Member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal “Signa” (Spanish Society of semiotics)
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Interdisciplinary Studies in Musicology (Poznan)
  • Member of the Editorial Board of “Lithuanian musicology”
  • Member of the Advisory Board of TRANS (electronic journal on musicology and ethnomusicology, Barcelona)
  • Member of the Advisory Panel of “Musica Humana”, Journal of Korean Institute of Musicology
  • Member of the Advisory Board of “Perspectiva Interdisciplinaria de Musica”, UNAM, Mexico
  • Member of the Honorary Committee of LEXIA, Journal of Semiotics, Turin, Italy
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Jean Sibelius Gesamtausgabe
  • Chief Advisor of the Chinese Semiotic Studies, Nanjing Normal University Press


  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1997
  • Honorary Doctor of the Estonian Music Academy, 1999
  • Honorary Doctor of the New Bulgarian University, Sofia, 2001
  • Honorary Fellow of the Victoria College, University of Toronto
  • J.V.Snellman Prize of the University of Helsinki 1997
  • The Science Prize of the City of Helsinki, 1998
  • Honorary Member of the Richard Wagner Society in Finland 2008
  • Fellow of the International Communicology Institute, Washington D.C. ,USA, 2010
  • The 1st Class Medal of the White Rose Order of  Finland 1999
  • The Medal of the Order of Rio Branco, Brazil (the category of Officials) 2000
  • Chevalier de l’Ordre Palme Académique, France, 2004

Publications (books only):

Myth and Music. A Semiotic Approach to the Aesthetics of Myth in Music, especially that of Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky 1979 (Berlin: Mouton; in Finnish 1994; in French Mythe et musique, Michel de Maule 2003);

Heitor Villa-Lobos 1996 (North Carolina: McFarland; in Finnish 1987);

A Theory of Musical Semiotics 1994 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press);

Musical Signification (ed.)(Berlin:Mouton) 1995;

Semiotics of Music (ed.) 1987 (Semiotica);

Semiotics of Finland (ed.) 1991 (Semiotica);

La musique comme langage I-II (ed.) 1987-88 (Degres);

Sémiologie et pratiques esthetiques (ed.) 1991 (Degres);

Center and Periphery (ed. Acta Semiotica Fennica ASF) 1990;

On the Borderlines of Semiosis (ed. ASF) 1992;

Introduction to Semiotics (in Finnish) 1990;

The Dream and Exaltation of Romanticism (in Finnish) 1992;

Le secret du professeur Amfortas (novel, in French, Paris: L’Harmattan) 2000;

Musical Semiotics in Growth (ed. ASF/IU Press) 1996;

La sémiotique musicale (Presses Universitaires de Limoges) 1996;

Examples (in Finnish) 1996;

Semiotics of Music (ed. in electronic journal Applied Semiotics, Toronto, Canada); Heroes of Music (in Finnish) 1988;

Snow, Forest, Silence. The Finnish Tradition of Semiotics (ed.) 1998;

The Correspondence (of the School Years and Years of Formation) between E.T. and Hannu Riikonen  1961-76 (in Finnish) 1998;

Musical Signification: Between Rhetoric and Pragmatics (ed. together with Gino Stefani and Luca Marconi), (CLUEB, Bologna) 1998;

Existential Semiotics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press) 2000;

Signs of Music (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter) 2002. The Realities of Music. An Encyclopedia (in Finnish)(Helsinki University Press, 2003), Values and Signs (in Finnish)(Helsinki: Gaudeamus) 2004,

Portraits Interpretations, Reminiscences, Stories (in Finnish, Imatra: ISI), 2006.

La musique et ses signes (Paris: L’Harmattan) 2006,

Music and the Arts I-II, (Imatra, Acta semiotica fennica), 2006.

Maamme Suomi (Our Land Finland), ed. together with  A. Tiitta, J. Nummi and R. Stewen, Helsinki: Weilin et Göös, 2007.

Fondamenti di semiotica esistenziale (transl. by M. Berruti), Bari-Roma: Laterza Editore, 2009.

Fondements de la sémiotique existentielle (traduction par Jean-Laurent Csinidis), Paris: L’Harmattan 2009;

Existenzialnaja semiotika (in Bulgarian, transl by Ivaylo Krastev, Kristian Bankov),  Sofia: New Bulgarian University.

Communication Understanding/Misunderstanding. Proceedings from the 9th World Congress of IASS/AIS (ed.) I-III, Imatra: Acta semiotica fennica, 2009.

I segni della musica. Che csa ci dicono i suoni, Milano: Ricordi/LIM, 2010.

published 400 articles in many languages about semiotics, musical semiotics, music theory, history, aesthetic and analysis.


  • Gaudeamus, Helsinki
  • Helsinki University Press
  • Indiana University Press
  • Laterza Editore, Bari-Roma
  • McFarland, North Carolina
  • Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin
  • New Bulgarian University, Sofia
  • Presses Universitaire de Limoges
  • L’Harmattan, Paris
  • Werner Söderström, Helsinki
  • Michel de Maule, Paris
  • Ricordi, Milano
  • LIM, Lucca