But what do we mean when we say that an abstract instrumental peice of music tells a STORY!! It can't really, can it?
I agree. I've always been a bit wary of 'storytelling' with relation to music. A bit too PoMo for my liking.
Music can have structure and development - even reference and syntax.. But these are only analogous to the form of textual narrative. There's no actual story going on. What I find fascinating about music is that it can evoke an emotional response *without* any actual concrete emotional content. IOW without any 'story'. Just soundwaves impinging on neurons.