But on the other hand, you can't say in words
Music notation is both a set of instructions "put tab A in slot B" and a description of a soundscape. The illustration above, converted into instructions, might be something like "play three eighth note Gs followed by an E flat; the length of each eighth note is 0.14 seconds; play the notes loud, etc..." The cumbersomeness of this is why prose does not make for useful music notation. With training, you can read a musical score and "hear" it in your head; that is, you can estimate the resulting sound. As proof of this, a typical test in ear-training is to hand someone musical notation as in the illustration and have them sing it.
Some instrumental music almost seems to have semantic content. I once performed an experiment with the cooperation of a class I was teaching. There were about 100 students, so a good-sized sample. The experiment was I played a movement from an orchestral work and asked everyone to write down a few sentences describing what was going on. I suppose it was like asking them to imagine the movie this was the soundtrack for. I did not tell them anything whatever about the piece and I doubt if any of them had heard it before. If you want to perform the experiment yourself, just listen to the following clip without looking at it.
The vast majority of the students, at least 90%, wrote some variant of the following: "there is a great conflict or battle between two opposing forces, one good, one evil and the battle ends with good triumphing". This is the third movement from Shostakovich's Symphony No. 12, "The Year 1917" and it represents in some way the events of the Russian Revolution. The third movement is titled "Aurora" after the battleship that fired on the Winter Palace signalling the beginning of the conflict. Here is Wikipedia on the symphony.
Music can communicate very powerfully. What it can't do is communicate specifics: "meet me at 7" or "property is theft". What it can do is express how we feel in general, not specific terms. Now that raises some interesting possibilities. Can we use music as a kind of time machine to get a sense of how people felt in the 18th, or 16th or 14th century? Well, possibly. But we have to take into account that we can only hear from our perspective and the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic techniques of music have changed radically over time. The depiction of a battle in a piece from the 16th century is not going to sound much like the depiction of a battle in a piece from the 20th century.
One last thought. Beethoven titled his Symphony No. 3 the Eroica, and dedicated it to Napoleon. But, as the story goes, later on he scratched out that dedication and made it merely to "the memory of a great man". Here is the Wikipedia article with the story. Here is the title page with the scratched out original dedication:
And here is the slow movement of the Symphony No. 5 by Shostakovich:
All this makes one recall a letter Mendelssohn wrote in which he said:
A piece of music that I love expresses thoughts to me that are not too imprecise to be framed in words, but too precise.This is saying the opposite to what I have been saying here! But oddly enough, I think there is truth in both. What Mendelssohn is saying, as is clear from the context of the passage, is that while most people find language precise and music imprecise, for him it is the opposite. He finds language very imprecise with the meaning often unclear and easily misunderstood. Music on the other hand, to Mendelssohn, is perfectly clear even though inexpressible in words. Just as, for me, I know exactly what the meaning (significance? import?) is of the short theme by Beethoven I quoted at the very beginning of this post. But I really have no idea what someone might mean by saying "the ball is red". Unless we are playing billiards. It might all be some murky metaphor...