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An ethnographic analysis of participation, learning and agency in a Scottish traditional music organisation

Miller, Josephine L (2016) An ethnographic analysis of participation, learning and agency in a Scottish traditional music organisation. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is an ethnographic investigation of social and musical participation, learning and agency in a traditional music organisation in Scotland. I documented the activities of an established group and related my findings to wider scholarship. In previous studies of the transmission of traditional music, little attention has been given to the structures and practices of community-based groups which set out to create environments for learning and making music. This thesis uses a case study approach to research how competence is acquired and employed in one large charitable organisation, where learning is jointly shaped by tutors and participants. Fieldwork was undertaken mainly between January 2013 and June 2014, with Glasgow Fiddle Workshop (founded in 1990). I observed classes, sessions and events, typically in Further Education Colleges in Glasgow, but also in pubs and domestic settings. I engaged closely over an extended period with the diverse activities of GFW. I observed, conducted interviews, participated, recorded audio-visual data, and kept field notes as part of a multi-modal methodology. The key findings of this empirical study are that participation and agency function in multiple ways to empower members and tutors in communicating repertoire, skills and performance practice. It is argued that some existing models of music learning are inadequate in relation to the learning of traditional music, and that a more sophisticated conceptual framework is needed to describe the nature of the musical community observed. The conclusion to this thesis asserts that perceptions and practices of traditional music as social and participatory are central to the transmission of the genre, and learning roles are flexible in a stylistic community of practice which facilitates musical and social agency. This study contributes to scholarship on music learning in addressing cross-cutting themes and synthesising theoretical approaches, with potential impact for our understanding of wider, comparative practices of music making in the contemporary world.  

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Music (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.694478
Depositing User: Dr Josephine L Miller
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 10:30
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:27
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14286

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