Introduction to Field Techniques in Ethnomusicology By Marie-Christine Parent PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology Université de Montréal / Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis Presented to the National Heritage Division Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles February 16, 2011 Introduction : A Brief History of Ethnomusicology • The history of ethnomusicology and evolution of the discipline have been influenced a lot by fieldwork • Diversity of ethnomusicological narratives • Diversity of people’s backgrounds making research in this area What is Ethnomusicology? • From comparative musicology to ethnomusicology • « ethnomusicology » was used for the first time by J. Kunst (1950) • Discipline based on cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research methods into musical behavior • Distinguished body of litterature • Confluence of semiotics and hermeneutics • Subsidiary of both musicology and anthropology Perspectives in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology : 1980-2000 • With John Blacking (1981), « Western music must also be treated as strange and exotic » • « holistic model » from R. Joseph (1988) : based on the convergence of four intellectual traditions : - musical semiotics, derived from structural linguistics ; - performance and contextual approches, from folklore on the one hand, and from sociolinguistics on the other ; - communication and meaning model, from cognitive anthropology Perspectives in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology : 1980-2000 • Clifford Geertz’s « interpretive anthropology » found its way into ethnomusicological debate (see Rice, 1986) • Cognitive psychology contributed a layer of analytical insight (Harwood, 1976) • Influence of semiology inspired by Saussure (Boilès, 1982 ; Nattiez, 1975) • Postmodernism (Feld, 1974 ; Jairazbhoy, 1977; Nettl, 1975; Turino, 1990; etc.) • Impact of reflexive principles of phenomenology and hermeneutics (Bourdieu, 1984; Blum, 1990) • Analytical method in popular music (Frith, 1987 ; Middleton, 1990 ; Shepherd, 1982 ; Tagg, 1982) New Issues for an Ethnomusicology of the 21th Century • Description and analysis of music in a transplanted environment ; • Cross-cultural and comparative studies ; • Ideology and politics ; • Cultural policy ; • Traditional music on stage ; • Applied ethnomusicology ; • Performance analysis and practice ; • Etc. Doing Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology Some issues : • Collaborative ethnography (see Lassiter, Araujo, Impey, etc.); • Ethics on the fieldwork (see Aubert, Desroches, Parent, Shelemay, etc.) ; • Visual anthropology or hypermedia anthropology (see Pourchez, Taylor Anderson, etc.) Field Techniques in Ethnomusiclogy 1) Preparation Consultation of archives, library, private collections, museums, internet and other repositories : scholarly reports and publications Be aware of reliability of sources : who, when, context, etc. Fieldwork What to observe / study / comment / record ? 1. Oral and Musical Tradition • • • • • Tales, legends, personal experiences, mnemonic devices, jokes, etc.) Song : ballads, lullaby, children’s songs, work songs, etc. Music : drumming, fiddle tunes, whistling, etc. Dance : square dance, round dance, ethnic dance, etc. Game, Play, and Strategy Fieldwork (2) 2. Material Culture • Artifacts : houses, barns, boats, musical instruments, etc. • The Cultural Landscapes : physical and economic boundaries of regions and neighborhoods, use of land and space, etc. • Crafts and Trades : tool making, musical instruments making, rope making, weaving, animal trapping, etc. 3. Family Life • Traditions and Customs • Religious observations • Rites of passage: birth, birthdays, baptism, marriage, funerals, etc. Fieldwork (3) 4. Foodways • • • • Food preparation and recipes Traditional meal preparation Religious or symbolic uses for food Gardening 5. Beliefs • Folk Medicine • Religious practices • Luck and magic Fieldwork (4) 6. Festivals, Drama, Rituals • • • • • • Seasonal and calendrical events Saints and nameday celebrations Feast days Market days Community festivals and pageants Touristic scene Fieldwork (5) How to observe / study : • • • • Listening ; Taking notes ; Recording (audio, video) ; Etc. Fieldwork (6) Doing fieldwork implies : • Have notebooks, pens and pencils ; • Make sure the camera is charged and that you have enough cassettes and all the accessories needed (tripod, charger, flash, microphone, extension cord, extra batteries, etc.) • Have tape measure (for recording the dimension of material objects) • Dress properly, according to the circumstances • Release forms (consent, permission) • Maps, phone numbers, etc. • Being able to elaborate a “questionnaire” and to “improvise” with the answers The « Questionnaire » • The « questionnaire » is composed of « open » questions and « closed » questions • What is the purpose of this interview? • Make a list of the main ideas to take over • Prepare a few questions on each idea to be developped • Make sure you will be able to make the transition without having to start over again each time you want to « go somewhere else » Fieldwork (7) Some hints and issues about recordings : • When setting an interview, mention you plan to record it • Before making the interview or recording some music, tell the informant or the musician(s) what the recording will be used for and make she he/she understands and approves. • A release or consent form might be signed • Make sure you know how to use the camera or sound recorder before the interview and try to not be preoccupied by the recording machine during the interview • Always use high quality material (tapes…) • Be aware of ambient noise • Number your recordings as you take them and register the title of the project, the name of the musician / group / speaker, the name of the interviewer, date and location of recording, the context, key subject recorded, etc. Release Form Example I,_____________________________, am a participant in the_______________________ project, (hereinafter "project"). I understand that the purpose of the project is to collect audio- and video-tapes and selected related documentary materials (such as photographs and manuscripts) that may be deposited in the permanent collections of __________________________________. The deposited documentary materials may be used for scholarly, educational, and other purposes. I understand that the ____________________ plans to retain the product of my participation as part of its permanent collection and that the materials may be used for exhibition, publication, presentation on the World Wide Web and successor technologies, and for promotion of the institution and its activities in any medium. I hereby grant to _____________________________ ownership of the physical property delivered to the institution and the right to use the property that is the product of my participation (for example, my interview, performance, photographs, and written materials) as stated above. By giving permission, I understand that I do not give up any copyright or performance rights that I may hold. I also grant to_____________________________ my absolute and irrevocable consent for any photograph(s) provided by me or taken of me in the course of my participation in the project to be used, published, and copied by ______________________________ and its assignees in any medium. I agree that_______________________________ may use my name, video or photographic image or likeness, statements, performance, and voice reproduction, or other sound effects without further approval on my part. ACCEPTED AND AGREED Signature___________________________________________Date________________ AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDING LOG - Example Collector: __________________________Tape no. ______________________ Recording title (informant or event): _______________________________ Corresponding Data Sheet No. ______________Photo Log No._____________ Fieldnotes (dates or other retrieval no.): __________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Format: ____________ (cassette, disk, sound card, digital video, etc.) Length: __________ Machine model used: ________________________________________________ Interview date: ___________________Time: ___________________________ Place of Interview(s): ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Setting and circumstance: ___________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Subjects covered: ___________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Additional Notes: ___________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ TOPIC SUMMARY Time or meter Topic/informant ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Fieldwork (8) About recording and filming… What do you want to document? • The sound? • The way of playing? The way of dancing? The relation between the two? • Playing or signing techniques? • Costumes? • Musical instruments? • Anything else? Make sure you get theses informations in your recordings ! After Fieldwork… Organizing and preparing the material for archival preservation • After an interview, listen to it and make a “log” or a topic-bytopic summary for each recording • Make sure the label on the recording is matching the recording log • Make sure to store recordings in a dry, temperature stable atmosphere away from electronic and magnetic equipment. What To Do With a Recording or Pictures ? • Store on an external hard drive and transfert on CDs or DVDs : always keep more than one copie in different places and keep the best quality as possible. • Give a copy back to the informants / musicians when it is possible • Live a copy to be stored at a National Archives or any organization responsible for the conservation of heritage How can we use these documents? • Research purposes : analysis, education, etc. • Documentaries, publications (pictures),valorisation projects, etc. - not for commercial purposes Before using some material, tell the informant that an extract of an interview or a music will be used for a specific project. If the informant is not alive anymore, talk with the family. In any case, specially if we think the project might end up in a commercial one, a new agreement is sometimes necessary. CONCLUSION Doing fieldwork is nowadays not only about techniques, but mostly about ETHICS and RELATIONSHIPS with the people you work with. Of course, a good knowledge of the discipline, some technical skills to make good fieldwork (intervews, filming, etc.) and a good preparation is necessary. In my conception, applied ethnomusicology is based on some kind of collaborative ethnography, in the way that it tends to respond to the local needs and preoccupations. Selective Bibliography • LASSITER, Luke Erik, 2004, « Collaborative Ethnography », AnthroNotes, Spring 2004. • PORTER, James, 1995, « New Perspectives in Ethnomusicology : A Critical Survey », in Transcultural Music Review, # 1. http://www.sibetrans.com/trans/trans1/porter.htm (consulté pour la dernière fois le 7 février 2011) • POURCHEZ, Laurence Pourchez, « Multimédia et anthropologie : de la mode à la narration réflexive », ethnographiques.org, Numéro 16 - septembre 2008 [en ligne]. http://www.ethnographiques.org/2008/Pourchez.html (consulté pour la dernière fois le 7 février 2011) • TAYLOR ANDERSON, Kevin, 1999, « Ethnographic Hypermedia : Transcending Thick Descriptions », in SIGHTS – Visual Anthropology Forum, www.http://cc.joensuu.fi/sights/kevin.htm (consulté pour la dernière fois le 25 janvier 2011) Questions, comments and more… [email protected] http://www.mariechristineparent.wordpress.com (under « enseignement ») THANK YOU!