Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs: History and Transmission

Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs: History and Transmission

A conference organised by the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, EFDSS, and the Elphinstone Institute

Researchers have long been fascinated by the recurrence of tunes in all manner of musical styles and genres, performance contexts, levels of society, historical periods, and geographical locations. But how are we to understand this phenomenon?

The topic raises intriguing questions about the ways in which music is transmitted, experienced and conceptualised. In what sense do tunes ‘recur’? Why are some termed ‘super-tunes’ (Marsh 2016)? Do some tunes possess ‘vitality of melody’ (Kidson 1907)? Where do human agency, social structure and cultural values come in?

This conference aims to bring together those working on ‘traditional’ and ‘popular’ tunes within and across the many contexts in which they have been found. We invite contributions on any aspect of the topic and welcome a broad range of perspectives and approaches, including those drawing on ethnographic research to illuminate melodic interrelationships. Contributions from newer researchers and independent researchers are welcomed.

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Further details can be found on the Elphinstone Institute Conference page.

We look forward to a vibrant discussion of this wide-ranging topic!

Julia Bishop, Laura Smyth, Elaine Bradtke and Tom McKean (organisers)

With Vic Gammon, Ian Russell, Steve Roud (programme advisory panel)

Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images A blind fiddler plays to a family audience. Coloured engraving by J. Burnet after D. Wilkie, 1806. 1806: By: David Wilkie after: John Burnet Published: 6 January 1877

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Cecil Sharp House, London

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