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Playing with tradition: weighing up similarity and the buoyancy of the game

Volioti, G (2010) Playing with tradition: weighing up similarity and the buoyancy of the game Musicae Scientiae, 14 (2). pp. 85-114.

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This paper seeks to interrogate some of the common uses and assumptions surrounding the musicological concept of tradition and its empirical study from recordings. In particular, I take issue with certain style-analytical approaches for investigating performance traditions from recordings. From a theoretical perspective, I consider how the operation of tradition resides beyond the substantive content of performance style, and how such an understanding of tradition fares against quantitative measurements of style and the historical periodization of performance practice. Through a series of empirical case studies based on two of Grieg's Lyric Pieces I investigate the relevance of tradition as an analytical category for studying the transmission of performance practices from recordings. Using beat tempo data extracted from these recordings as an empirical marker of transmission processes, the case studies illustrate how stylistic kinship between performers captures the operation of tradition in different contexts. Findings suggest that stylistic relationships function best as heuristic tools for tracing the presence of tradition in this repertoire: the data do not support the more conventional understanding of tradition as collective style or historically patterned trend, nor do stylistic similarities between performers always verify the operation of tradition. Finally, in seeking to understand tradition beyond the dimension of performance style, I turn to ethnographic data which reveal the operation of tradition as a subjective feeling of connection and ultimately as ontological potential.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Music
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Date : 1 September 2010
DOI : 10.1177/102986491001400204
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2010 by ESCOM European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
Uncontrolled Keywords : Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Music, Psychology, Experimental, Psychology
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 15:27
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 14:43

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