9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Arts Participation Building II, C6.07

Traditional Music Practices and Social Interactions

What do individuals seek to discover through taking part in amateur musical activity? Apart from an interest in a particular traditional musical instrument or repertoire such as "world music" or "traditional" music, what do people gain from practicing amateur music? The aim of my present doctoral study is to explore the relationship between a particular musical practice and specific values and symbols which together encompass a specific "way of life." My presentation will explore how one particular kind of amateur music functions: traditional music. More specifically, this paper will examine the social relationships which form around learning and performing a traditional music repertoire. How does an individual engage with traditional music? What expectations develop around the practice and performance of a particular repertoire? My research aims to explore the ways in which particular traditional musical tastes are formed and to describe the effect of this process of attachment to a particular musical form upon the whole ensemble of an individual's cultural practices. In other words, this project explores how music interacts with social identity to represent and create a particular world view. As a study of the sociology of music, this work offers an analytical framework which is highly relevant - exploring amateur artistic practices in terms of how they interact with the social identity formation of their public audience.

Based upon interviews, classroom observation and a statistical investigation carried out as part of the doctoral thesis, this paper will provide an insight into the ways in which music is learned and acquired within oral music traditions; adopting a sociological approach. It will also illustrate how amateur musicians engage with these learning and performance processes. The paper will address the question of how to define traditional music forms; it will then build upon this starting point to consider the manner in which individuals become "amateur musicians." This will be followed by a discussion of learning techniques and the effects which attachment to particular traditional music forms has upon individuals. Finally, the paper will conclude by analysing the consequences which this kind of "musical passion" can have upon individual lifestyles.