We aim to stimulate new research into the study of North Atlantic fiddle and dance traditions by focussing on memory from the perspective of three different disciplines:
By featuring a keynote speaker from outside the field of fiddle and dance studies, the workshop context provides an effective forum for open discussion, exchange of ideas, and creative thinking.
The four presentations focus on how music and dance are related to memory and the contribution that cognitive psychology can make to our understanding of music and dance.
- Presentation on Film
Session 1: 'The Keynote' (Chair: Ian Russell)
- Prof. David C. Rubin, Juanita M. Kreps Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA – Based on his research into oral traditions, David Rubin explores the ways in which music and movement are related to memory. The aim is to see what can be drawn from cognitive psychology to help our understanding of fiddle music and dance
Session 2: 'In the Hot Seat' (Chair: Heather Sparling)
- Byron Dueck, Open University, ‘Dance and Manitoban Indigenous Memory’
- Jo Miller, Sheffield University, ‘Drawing on Memory in the Learning of Instrumental Skills and Melodies’
- Colin Quigley, University of Limerick, ‘Memory in Aural-Corporeal Composition’
- David Rubin reflects on the presentations and tries to provide insights from cognitive psychology that might help take the research further
NAFCo Workshop 1: 'Memory, Music and Movement'
09 - 10 June 2016
Speaker: Prof. David C. Rubin, Juanita M. Kreps Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
NAFCo Workshop 1 focuses on cognitive psychology (how music and dance are related to memory)
Thursday 9 June 2016
1.00 pm - Registration – Elphinstone Institute, MacRobert Building, King’s College
2.00 pm - Session 1: Keynote (Chair – Ian Russell) David Rubin will give a presentation based on his research into oral traditions as a cognitive psychologist. The aim is to see if we can draw anything from cognitive psychology in understanding fiddle music and dance.
3.15 pm - Break
3.45 pm - Session 2: 'In the Hot Seat' (Chair – Heather Sparling) Byron Dueck, Jo Miller, and Colin Quigley will work with David Rubin; each will have a half-hour contribution, 20 minutes presentation, followed by 10 minutes from David. David will reflect on the presentation, trying to provide insights from cognitive psychology that might help take the research further.
8.00 pm - Session 3: 'Ceilidh' – Paul Anderson and Friends will present fiddle music from North-East Scotland at the Blue Lamp pub (open to general public).
Friday 10 June 2016
9.30 am - Session 4:'Last Night’s Fun' (Chair – Ian Russell) BD, CQ & JM will pose some prepared questions on themes agreed with David Rubin. Groups of eight will rotate – and conclude with a summary from the group leaders.
11.00 am - Break
11.30 am - Session 5: 'The Breakdown' (Chairs – HS, IR, DR) This is an opportunity for everyone who has come (twenty-four people) to make a short presentation within a group of eight. Each participant will have five minutes to present his/her own experience of music and memory to the group. Group chairs will reflect on it and pool ideas at the end.
1.00 pm - Lunch break
2.00 pm - Session 6: 'Chain Reaction' (Chair – IR)The practitioners involved in the workshop will get a chance to perform and reflect. Everyone who plays an instrument, dances, sings, listens can interact and react.
3.30 pm - Session 7: 'The Way Ahead' (IR & HS co-chair) with afternoon tea and scones – four speakers plus all participants.
4.30 pm - Workshop Closes
Note: We will be filming the proceedings on Thursday and making it available remotely. This should enable interaction with remote participants. Other sessions will also be filmed for the new NAFCo website. This will be launched to mark the occasion of the workshop.
University of Aberdeen
Pat Ballantyne is a dance scholar at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, researching traditional Scottish music and dance. Her PhD thesis, completed in 2016, focuses on Scottish dancing masters and the influences that have contributed to the current state of traditional music and dance in Scotland. Pat has been dancing, teaching and playing in a cèilidh band for a number of years and has taught step dance in schools, at fèisean, and at community workshops. She has performed in Scotland, Europe and in Cape Breton Island where she has learned from some of the best contemporary step dancers.
Hallie Blejewski is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the steel pan communities in Trinidad, Nigeria, and South Africa. She completed her BA at Trinity College, CT, and the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, and picked up an MA along the way to her current ABD status at Wesleyan University. Her research interests include festivals and competition, instrument-making technologies, and human-instrument interactions. She directs the WesleyPan ensemble at Wesleyan University and previously founded and directed the Summit Steel ensemble at Trinity College. Hallie's interest in the fiddle community can be attributed to either chance or fate and has led to a number of experimental collaborations such as the KlezleyPan calypso-klezmer ensemble and a steel-pan-and-electric-violin Dave Matthews cover band.
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Joshua Dickson is Head of Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Born and raised in Alaska, he arrived in Scotland in 1992 to study Scottish Gaelic at the University of Aberdeen (MA, 1996). He then undertook doctoral research into the history of the piping tradition of the southern Outer Hebrides at the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh (PhD, 2001), now published under the title When Piping Was Strong: Tradition, Change and the Bagpipe in South Uist (John Donald, 2006). His ground-breaking anthology of piping studies, The Highland Bagpipe: Music, History, Tradition , is published by Ashgate under its Popular & Folk Music series (2009). His most recent published work has brought to light the role of women in the inheritance and transmission of traditional Gaelic canntaireachd in Hebridean life via the journals Scottish Studies and Review of Scottish Culture (2013). He is currently concerned with leading ground-breaking curricular reform which has helped position Scotland's national conservatoire as distinctive in the UK and wider Europe in the field of tertiary-level traditional music education.
Byron Dueck is Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the Open University. His current research interests include North American Indigenous music and dance, Cameroonian xylophone music, and what he has been calling ‘the social life of chords’. His work on Indigenous music and dance is the basis of a monograph, Musical Intimacies and Indigenous Imaginaries: Aboriginal Music and Dance in Public Performance (Oxford University Press, 2013). In 2014 he was a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘Online Networks and the Production of Value in Electronic Music’, and from 2009 to 2011, he was a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘What is Black British Jazz?’ He is the co-editor, with Martin Clayton and Laura Leante, of Experience and Meaning in Music Performance (Oxford University Press, 2013) and the co-editor, with Jason Toynbee, of Migrating Music (Routledge, 2011).
University of Aberdeen, TRACS and Traditional Music Forum
David Francis is Associate Director of traditional arts development organisation, TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) and Co-ordinator of the Traditional Music Forum. As a guitarist and songwriter and one half of The Cast (with Mairi Campbell) he has produced four albums, and Red Earth and Revival!, stage shows combining music and storytelling. Also for the stage he has co-written three scores for the Youth Music Theatre UK shows Tales from the World’s End, based on stories from Duncan Williamson, Nikki and the Gang by Alan Bissett (co-written with Mairi Campbell) and Not the End of the World (co-written with Sonum Batra). As a dance caller and musician he continues to whack out chords with various bands. Other activities include teaching guitar with the Scots Music Group in Edinburgh and co-producing Distil, a creative development project for traditional musicians. He is currently completing a Masters in Ethnology and Folklore at the University of Aberdeen.
University of Aberdeen
Ronnie Gibson is an authority on Scottish fiddle music, and author of the highly acclaimed website, ScottishFiddleMusic.com. His current research project, ‘Continuity and Revival in the Transmission of Scottish Fiddle Music from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day’ focuses on violin performance in eighteenth-century Scotland and its transmission from then to now. The study combines elements of historical musicology, ethnomusicology, and cultural history, in what is ultimately an interrogation of tradition, and is jointly supervised by Prof. David Smith (Department of Music) and Dr Frances Wilkins (Elphinstone Institute). He also has a growing interest in computational methods of music analysis, and is involved in an ongoing project with researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University and Fraunhofer IDMT investigating Shetland fiddle music. Ronnie holds a BMus degree from the University of Aberdeen and an MPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Pirie-Reid Scholar at St Catherine’s College. He is in demand as a performer and tutor of fiddle music, and teaches fiddle for Scottish Culture and Traditions, a community education initiative in Aberdeen.
Scottish Culture and Traditions, Aberdeen
Kenny Hadden has, since the early 1970s, been one of the pioneers in the re-introduction of the wooden ‘simple-system flute’ into Scottish traditional music. He currently teaches the flute class with Scottish Culture & Traditions (SC&T) group in Aberdeen, is a tutor at the annual ‘Flute Fling’ Scottish Traditional Flute Day in Edinburgh, and has been flute/whistle tutor at both the ‘Splore’ traditional music school in Aberdeen, and the School of Excellence in Traditional Music project in Plockton. As an organiser and performer, he was involved with Aberdeen Folk Club for over 30 years, and was also a founder member of the Stonehaven Folk Festival, and the Aberdeen branch of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA). As well as being involved in local music, both performing and teaching, he is co-presenter of a traditional/folk music programme, ‘The Wednesday Session’, on SHMU FM, Aberdeen’s local community radio station.
Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre
Associate Professor and senior researcher at Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius, Gaila holds a Master’s degree in Violin (1990) and Ethnomusicology (1992) from the Lithuanian Academy of Music, and a PhD in Ethnology from Vytautas Magnus University (1998). She has had research stays in Gőttingen University, Germany (1995), and the Belarusian State Academy of Music (2011). Her research emphasizes Lithuanian folk fiddling and music making by Soviet deportees and political prisoners in Siberia. She is the author of Fiddle and Fiddling in Lithuanian Ethnic Culture (2000), Traditional Wedding Music of Eastern Aukštaičiai (2009), Anthology of Lithuanian Folk Fiddle Music (DVD, 2015) and co-author of Lithuanians and Music in Siberia (2013); all these works are in Lithuanian with English summaries). She plays fiddle and other Lithuanian traditional musical instruments, and is the leader of traditional music group Griežikai (‘Musicians’).
University of Edinburgh
Dr Will Lamb is a lecturer in Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Focusing broadly on Scottish Gaelic ethnology, his research interests range from computational linguistics to traditional narrative and song. During the preparation of his 2012 edited book, Keith Norman MacDonald’s Puirt-à-Beul, Will became interested in the history of the strathspey. He has explored the topic in a number of articles, proposing that the strathspey’s origins lie in Gaelic song. Apart from his academic research, Will is known for his work as an accompanist and recording engineer. Although he seldom gigs these days due to family commitments, he takes his bouzouki to Sandy Bell’s every blue moon and serenades his neighbours nightly with the tenor banjo.
York University and Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto
Originally from Manitoba, Anne Lederman is a fiddler, singer and mutli-instrumentalist, composer and researcher. She has performed and recorded 5 CDs under her own name and many with other artists and ensembles including Muddy York, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Njacko Backo and, most recently, Eh?!. Anne is known especially for her research on Aboriginal fiddle traditions in Canada. In 1986, she produced a 4-album archival set (now a double CD), Old Native and Métis Fiddling in Manitoba. She has written numerous articles on Canadian fiddling for such publications as The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, The Garland Encyclopeidia of World Music and Fiddle and Dance Studies From Around the North Atlantic 3 and 4, among many others.She has also published the first two parts of a 3-part teaching series: Tamarack’er Down: A Guide to Celtic-Canadian Fiddling Through Rhythm. Anne is the founding Artistic Director of Worlds of Music Toronto and of World Fiddle Day Toronto. She is currently on the Faculty of York University and the Royal Conservatory of Music, teaching Canadian Folk Fiddling.
Catriona Macdonald is a proud bearer of one of the world's great fiddle traditions, that of the Shetland Isles. A pupil of the late Dr Tom Anderson MBE, Catriona at once embodies the strength and spirit of her heritage with the freshness and diversity of a thoroughly modern performer. Her playing has established her a worldwide reputation. From 1998-2011 Catriona was a member of Blazin` Fiddles, and in January 2000 she created String Sisters. This ongoing project brings together six of the foremost female fiddle players in the world: Liz Carroll, Liz Knowles, Emma Hardalien Annbjorg Lien and Mairead ni Mhaonaigh. Catriona`s debut solo album Bold was released in 2000, and Over the Moon in 2009 on her own label Peerie Angel Productions. She was joined on these albums by some of Scotland's finest Traditional and Jazz instrumentalists. Currently, Catriona is Senior Lecturer and Degree Programme Director for BA/Bmus Folk and Traditional Music courses held at Newcastle University, and she has been developing and teaching on this course since its inauguration in 2000.
Scottish Culture and Traditions, Aberdeen
University of Limerick
Troy MacGillivray is music practitioner and MA Ethnomusicology student at the University of Limerick. MacGillivray holds a BA major in music from St Francis Xavier University and a recording engineering diploma from McKenzie College. Troy comes from Nova Scotia, Canada. Troy’s Scots-Gaelic roots influences his approach to music (fiddle and piano) and has led to six recordings which have received nominations and awards from the East Coast Music Association, Music Nova Scotia, and Canadian Folk Music Association. In 2012, Troy received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions and dedication to culture in Nova Scotia and Canada. Extensive touring has allowed Troy to share his music through North America, Europe and as far as Australia. In 2008, he joined a cast of Canadian musicians who toured with the Canadian Armed Forces to Afghanistan to perform for the NATO forces. Troy continues to impress audiences with his vast wealth of knowledge and experience both on and off the stage.
University of Aberdeen
I am a folklorist specializing in Scots and Gaelic song, along with custom and belief, and fieldwork methodology. Of particular interest is the relationship of traditional practices to the individual, the role of creativity in tradition, and in how singers acquire and adapt new and old material to their own circumstances. As part of the James Madison Carpenter Project team, I have been working with cylinder and disc recordings of North-East singers made between 1929 and 1935, leading towards publication of a critical edition of the collection. The project has been funded by the British Academy and the National Endowment for the Humanities under the auspices of the American Folklore Society, and in association with the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. (www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/carpenter). My postgraduate teaching includes Custom and Belief, Scots and Gaelic Song, along with Fieldwork and Archiving methodology. I have organized a number of conferences, including the 1999 and 2007 Kommission für Volksdichtung ballad conference. In 1993, I established the North East Folklore Archive at Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire as part of my work as Traditional Music Resident for Banff and Buchan District Council (now Aberdeenshire), 1993-1996. The archive has continued to develop under the direction of Gavin Sutherland and much of my fieldwork material is now available on the web at the Banff and Buchan Collection. I am the Director of the Elphinstone Institute and President of the Kommission für Volksdichtung.
Dr Simon McKerrell is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University who is interested in how music performs meaning in social life. His research interests are focused upon how music and text communicate sectarianism, belonging and cultural heritage and how these relate to policy. Methodologically this relies upon critical discourse analysis, ethnography and multimodal analysis. He has previously held positions at the Universities of Sheffield and Glasgow and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In 2014-15 he was an Early Career Fellow with the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom as Principal Investigator for the project ‘Understanding Scotland Musically’ (£68,000) and was concurrently a Co-Investigator for a Scottish Government Social Research project entitled ‘Community Experiences of Sectarianism’ (£73,000). In addition to this, Simon is also a world-recognised expert on Highland and Uilleann bagpiping, having recorded over 11 commercial albums and taught throughout the world. He sits on the peer-review panel (2014-17) for the UK AHRC, and has served on the BBC panel for the Young Traditional Musician of the Year in addition to many other public engagements which support his aims of understanding traditional music as Intangible Cultural Heritage in policy and practice. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/sacs/staff/profile/simon.mckerrell
University of Limerick
Swedish born traditional dancer, choreographer and researcher Mats Melin has worked professionally with dance in Scotland since 1995 and in Ireland since 2005. He has been engaged in freelance work nationally and internationally as well as having been Traditional Dancer in Residence for four Scottish Local Authorities. Mats co-started the dynamic Scottish performance group Dannsa in 1999. He is a former member of the Scottish Arts Council's Dance Committee and Scottish Government Working Group on Traditional Arts, and was an office bearer for Dance Research Forum Ireland for seven years up until 2014. Mats is a Lecturer in Dance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland. He authored One with the Music: Cape Breton Step Dancing Tradition and Transmission (Cape Breton University Press, 2015).
University of Sheffield and Riverside Project
Jo has been a singer, fiddler and music educator in Scotland for over 30 years. She has produced classroom music resources for Scottish schools since the 1980s (most recently for Musical Futures Scotland), and has worked in a wide range of community settings. She lectured at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama from 1990 until 2005, founding the BA (Scottish Music) degree there in 1996. Jo was a Youth Music advisor to the Scottish Arts Council, and is an advocate of mentoring for traditional arts practitioners, in partnership with the Traditional Music Forum, including piloting a project which received the Scottish Mentoring Network’s Culture Project of the Year award in 2013. She also leads the intergenerational Riverside Music Project in her home community of Stirling. Since 2011 Jo has been a research student at the University of Sheffield, where she has just submitted her PhD on the role of participation and agency in the learning of traditional music in community-based groups.
University of Gothenburg
Hong Kong Suzuki Music Institute
Evelyn Osborne is an ethnomusicologist and fiddler. Her research has centred around the traditional music of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Canada and the interactions with music around the North Atlantic, particularly Irish music from New York and Ireland. Her articles have appeared in MusiCultures, Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, and the NAFCo series. Originally from NL, she relocated to Hong Kong in 2015 to take up the position of Executive Director at the Hong Kong Suzuki Music Institute. Evelyn has recently joined the Hong Kong Morris Side and is enjoying dancing and fiddling in the tropical heat.
University of Limerick
Colin Quigley is Senior Lecturer and Course Director for Ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. He has published two monographs on the traditional dance and fiddling of Newfoundland: Close to the Floor (1985) and Music from the Heart (1995). The latter is a detailed examination of one musician's musical life, cognition, and compositional processes. He takes a broader view of North Atlantic fiddling in articles appearing in journals such as The Yearbook for Traditional Music, Ethnomusicology, and anthologies including American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, Communities in Motion, and The International Encyclopedia of Dance. Since 1990 he has extended his research on fiddle band music and dance into Romania and Hungary, publishing, for example, in The Oxford Handbook of Music Revivals, He is an accomplished fiddler in several styles, a 5-string banjo player, former square and contra dance caller, and step dancer.
University of Sheffield
Having played the violin and cello for as long as she can remember, Naomi Rowland is classically trained in both instruments, and has participated in orchestras throughout her schooling life. Introduced to traditional Scottish fiddling at age 12, she instantly found a passion for this music and has since learned from and been inspired by some of the best fiddlers and cellists in Australia and around the world. Now living in Sheffield, England, Naomi has recently completed her undergraduate degree, specialising in Ethnomusicology and Folk and Traditional Music performance. She is a member of various bands and ensembles, and has performed at many major festivals, including Gate to Southwell (UK) and the National Folk Festival (Australia) for several years.
David C. Rubin
Duke University, North Carolina
I started out in physics working in labs in the summer and as an aerospace engineer for two years for NASA before starting graduate school in psychology. My PhD thesis concerned memory for stories. A musicologist, Leo Treitler, who studied Gregorian chants, wanted to know about what psychologists knew that could help him understand their stability and change and that led to him finding me, my learning about the work of Albert Lord, and eventually the research that led to my invitation to address the NAFCo Workshop. Throughout my career in psychology, I have tried to understand human cognition for complex, real-world stimuli, including oral traditions; not primarily because they would lead to results that would generalize, but rather because they afford the wide range of variability in structure, multiple modalities, emotion, rehearsal and retention interval that is needed to rigorously test more controlled work and to put it into context. From my earliest work, I have combined behavioural research with investigations of its underlying neural basis: initially with neuropsychological cases and then with neuroimaging as it became available. For the last twenty years, I have concentrated on autobiographical memory and PTSD, using behavioural and fMRI methods with funding from the USA National Institutes of Health. This work has been primarily translational, using what we know about the behavioural and neural basis of cognition to provide the most direct explanations of clinical syndromes.
University of Aberdeen
Emeritus Professor Ian Russell is the former Director of the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen (1999-2014). This institute specialises in the ethnology and folklore of the North and North East of Scotland. His current research is focused on the traditional culture of NE Scotland, including singing traditions, instrumental traditions, and festivalisation. Since 1969 he has conducted extensive fieldwork into singing traditions in the English Pennines, especially Christmas carolling – and has published The Sheffield Book of Village Carols (2011) and The Derbyshire Book of Village Carols (2012). He is the founder and Director of the Festival of Village Carols, and the President of the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, which has held meetings in St. John’s in Newfoundland, Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Cape Breton Island and Aberdeen. His most recent publication, co-edited with Catherine Ingram, is Taking Part in Music: Case Studies in Ethnomusicology (Aberdeen University Press, 2013). He is Principal Investigator in the AHRC/NAFCo Networking Project ‘Memory, Music and Movement’.
Cape Breton University
Heather Sparling is the Canada Research Chair in Musical Traditions and Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Cape Breton University. Her research interests include Gaelic song in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canadian disaster songs, and Cape Breton step dance. She is the author of ‘Reeling Roosters and Dancing Ducks’: Celtic Mouth Music (CBU Press, 2014) and she is the editor of MUSICultures, the peer-reviewed journal of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music. She is a fluent Gaelic learner and the principal flutist with the Cape Breton Orchestra. She is International Co-Investigator for the AHRC NAFCo Networking project.
Scottish Culture and Traditions, Aberdeen
Sandy Tweddle has been brightening the world of ceilidh and traditional fiddle for more than three decades, building up a wealth of experience as well a legion of happy feet and hearts. He began playing mostly classical during his childhood but quickly progressed to traditional fiddle as a student in Aberdeen. He has performed with numerous bands and ensembles over the years in venues across the North East of Scotland and further afield. He also teaches at Scottish Culture and Traditions, an Aberdeen based adult learning medium.
The four presentations focus on how music and dance are related to memory and the contribution that digital humanities can make to our understanding of music and dance.
- Presentation on Film
Session 1: 'The Keynote' (Chair: Ian Russell)
- Timothy R. Tangherlini, Professor in Scandinavian Section at the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA, presents, ‘Fiddling with Computers: Archival and Fieldwork Challenges in Folkloristics’. He demonstrates how Digital Humanities provides insights into his research in Danish folklore. The aim is to see what we can draw from his approach to help us further our researches in fiddle music and dance. Here is a film of his presentation. The abstract is below.
‘Fiddling with Computers: Archival and Fieldwork Challenges in Folkloristics’
Folkloristics is poised on the cusp of a revolution presaged by the advent of widely accessible digital archives, easy to use recording technologies, and inexpensive computing. Yet this revolution is hampered by several structural challenges. The study of folklore is based on two seemingly incompatible activities that form the foundation on which we base our analyses: fieldwork, which depends on close interpersonal interactions to document living traditions, and archiving, which depends on classification and preservation. The turn to performance studies in 1970s American folkloristics encouraged researchers to eschew the archive in favour of personally developed collections, while historical collections often languished under the weight of significant barriers to access. Yet recent advances in archiving methods based on sophisticated database technologies, including rapid, flexible indexing, have breathed life into the archive, at the same time as fieldwork technologies have converged on interchangeable data formats and born digital recordings, be they audio or video. Consequently, the earlier divide between living traditions and archival resources has been considerably lessened. Now we are confronted with serious challenges that are essential to the future of the discipline. Can we breathe life into the archives that seemed destined for the intellectual dust heap just a few decades ago? And can we align recent fieldwork with the long historical background that these archives have captured? How are we to deal with the increasing amount of material we can now generate in the field? And how can we devise flexible methods for discovering that material once collected?
Using a series of examples from a large corpus of Danish folklore collected over five decades (1870–1920) by Evald Tang Kristensen and spanning genres from legends, proverbs, celebrations and games, to ballads, dances, and fiddlers’ music, I explore the possibilities for – and the challenges inherent in – using computation to help our work with the rich folkloric traditions that are the focus of our field. A key challenge will be extending these approaches to the complex realm of fiddling in particular and folk music in general. In this brief talk, I will discuss topics as varied as historical Geographic Information Systems (hGIS), automated classifiers, time series data, and working with inconsistent and changing data resources.
Session 2: ‘In the Hot Seat’ (Chair – Heather Sparling)
Three presenters (David McGuinness, Pat Ballantyne, and Gaila Kirdienė) work with Tim; each makes a short presentation followed by discussion led by Tim. Tim reflects on the presentations, providing insights from Digital Humanities that might help take this research further.
Here is a film of the presentations. The abstracts are below.
‘Using Historical Materials to Inform Tradition: <hms.scot> and its Possible Futures’
One of the outcomes of the AHRC-funded ‘Bass Culture in Scottish Musical Traditions’ research project (2012–2015) was the website <hms.scot>, which presents bibliographical information and some digitisations of printed sources of Scottish fiddle music from around 1750–1850. The project team tested the possibility of infusing present-day traditions with historical awareness, in this case accompaniment traditions in fiddle music and their relevance to music and dance. In this short presentation, I will explain the background to the project and its various activities, outline the initial plans for the web resource and why many of them didn’t come to fruition, and look for advice on its future direction.
‘Taking the Highland out of the Fling’
Two hundred years ago, Scottish dancing master Francis Peacock described Highland dancing as being a series of individual steps without a specific order which were characterized by the dancer’s expression and responsiveness to the accompanying music. I will trace how Peacock’s steps evolved into the present day's closely regulated Highland dance movement, alongside the increasing professionalization of dance teaching and the formation of regulatory societies. This raises the question of whether the twentieth-century appropriation of a dance culture by a self-styled ‘board of control’ created an entirely new and constructed authenticity.
‘Digital Books of natural Folk Music: The Lithuanian Experience since 2003’
Since 2003, digital books of folklore including music, dance and vocal folklore, customs, etc. have been published in Lithuania. At the same time computer and internet databases of Lithuanian folklore have begun to be created. In all cases it is teamwork, combining the intellects of humanities and computer programming to find common understanding and solutions, and to embody humanitarian visions by means of technological and computer programmes. I have been a co-author of three digital folklore books for schoolchildren (self)-teaching (responsible for all musical and choreographic folklore), subsequently of a book for students (responsible for instrumental folklore), and in 2015 author of Lithuanian Folk Fiddle Music Anthology (DVD with authoring). The first three of them were published online and the last two have almost the entire texts translated into English.
Digital books, unlike databases, are completed works, founded on cultural and/or scientific concepts, in which there are selected folklore examples, illustrations (audio and video recordings, transcriptions and related visual materials), relevant to the stated ideas of the authors. These specific materials can be easily accessed both from activated references in the concentrated text chapters or used as separate collections, which are usually considerably larger than those of printed paper books. The greatest challenge for all of the team is to create a book with as much attractive content for the contemporary users as possible (vivid, animated, widely accessible, and transmitted). Therefore we use not only old archival material, but also recent recordings (often personally collected), showcasing continuity and vitality of the discussed phenomena and issues today. It is a huge undertaking. Therefore it would be highly important not to lose the book or parts of it due to the continual improvements of computer programming or failures of the storage device.
NAFCo Workshop 2: ‘Memory, Music and Movement’
27–28 April 2017
The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen
Keynote Speaker: Timothy R. Tangherlini, Professor in Scandinavian Section, the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA
Thursday 27 April 2017
1.00 pm - Registration – Elphinstone Institute, MacRobert Building MR040
2.00 pm - Session 1: Craig Suite, SDR Library, Keynote (Chair – Ian Russell)
Timothy Tangherlini will give a presentation, ‘Fiddling with Computers: Archival and Fieldwork Challenges in Folkloristics’. He will be demonstrating how Digital Humanities (DH) can provide insights into his research in Danish folklore. We will be thinking about what we can draw from his approach to help us further our researches in fiddle music and dance. There will be an opportunity to put questions.
3.15 pm - Break
3.45 pm - Session 2: Craig Suite, SDR Library, ‘In the Hot Seat’ (Chair – Heather Sparling)
Three presenters (David McGuinness, Pat Ballantyne, and Gaila Kirdienė) will work with Tim; each will have a half-hour contribution, 15-20 minutes presentation, followed by 10 minutes discussion led by Tim. Tim will reflect on the presentation, trying to provide insights from DH that might help take the research further.
5.30 pm - Break for Evening Meal
8.30 pm - Session 3: Upstairs at the Blue Lamp, Gallowgate, ‘Live Music Session’ – open to general public.
Friday 28 April 2017
9.30 am - Session 4: Craig Suite, SDR Library, ‘The Breakdown’ (Chairs: Gaila, David, Pat). This is an opportunity for everyone who has come to make a short presentation based on Memory within a small group. Each participant will have 5-10 minutes to present his/her own thoughts and questions to the group, suggesting how DH might help, followed by discussion.
11.00 am - Break
11.30 am - Session 5: ‘The Breakdown’ concluded. Group chairs will reflect on ideas raised and relevance of DH, followed by an open forum coordinated by Tim.
12.15 pm - Lunch break
1.30 pm - Session 6: Craig Suite, SDR Library, ‘Session Dynamics’, MR029 (Chair tbc)We look at some questions and thoughts we might have from previous night’s live music session. Practitioners will get an opportunity to perform. Everyone who plays an instrument, dances, sings, listens, or watches can interact and react. It all starts with a tune. How can DH inform research in the area of spontaneous music making?
3.00 pm - Break
3.15 pm - Session 7: Craig Suite, SDR Library ‘The Way Ahead – NAFCo 2018’ (Chair: Tim) Four main speakers plus all participants.
4.15 pm - Workshop Closes
Note: We will be filming the proceedings on Thursday and recording/live streaming them. This should enable interaction with remote participants. Other sessions will also be filmed. Excerpts may be suitable for the NAFCo website or Facebook page or blog.
Participants in Workshop 2
- Pat Ballantyne – Elphinstone Institute
- Anna Birch – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Julia Bishop – Elphinstone Institute
- Hallie Blejewski – Wesleyan University
- Georgia Broughton – UCLA
- Byron Dueck – Open University
- Joshua Dickson – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Stuart Eydmann – University of Edinburgh
- Iain Fraser – Traditional Music Forum
- Gaila Kirdienė – Lithuanian Academy of Music
- Christine Kydd – Elphinstone Institute
- Chris McDonald – Cape Breton University
- David McGuinness – University of Glasgow
- Tom McKean – Elphinstone Institute
- Mats Melin – University of Limerick
- Mats Nilsson – University of Gothenburg
- Colin Quigley – University of Limerick
- Iain Richardson – Scottish Culture & Traditions (SC&T)
- Ian Russell – Elphinstone Institute
- Heather Sparling – Cape Breton University
- Jenny Sturgeon – Elphinstone Institute
- Timothy Tangherlini – UCLA
- Frances Wilkins – Elphinstone Institute
- Carley Williams – Elphinstone Institute
- Vera Nikitina
- Ania Trepczyk
- Ryo Yamasaki
The third and final AHRC/NAFCo ‘Memory, Music and Movement’ Workshop is scheduled for 4-6 October 2017 at Cape Breton University and will draw its inspiration from the field of Performance Studies. The keynote speaker is Professor Anna Birch, Research Lecturer in Drama, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The dates have been chosen so that participants can extend their stay to take in the Celtic Colours festival, should they wish.
NAFCo Workshop 2: ‘Memory, Music and Movement’, 27–28 April 2017
The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen
Pat Ballantyne is a dance scholar and Honorary Research Associate at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, researching traditional Scottish music and dance. Her PhD thesis, completed in 2016, focuses on Scottish dancing masters and the influences that have contributed to the current state of traditional music and dance in Scotland. Pat has been dancing, teaching and playing in a cèilidh band for a number of years and has taught step dance in schools, at fèisean and at community workshops. She has performed in Scotland, Europe and in Cape Breton Island where she has learned from some of the best contemporary step dancers.
Anna Birch (PhD), is Artistic Director and founder member of Fragments & Monuments performance and Film Company, based in Hackney, East London, UK and currently Lecturer, Research at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow where she is supervising a number of PhD students. Anna has produced and directed a series of projects in public spaces, theatres and galleries, which focus on how site- specific performance and film can develop and challenge gender vocabularies. By using iterative performance and film, book publishing and Internet broadcast since 2000 this work has resulted in an on-going and living monument to Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797). She is interested in how this use of multimedia in her projects provides an essential link to the performativity of particular feminist achievements through history. In 2011 she directed A Pageant of Great Women by Cicely Hamilton (DVD) for a centenary conference marking the founding of the Pioneer Players theatre society in Hull. She is now working with Glasgow Women’s Library to re-frame this remarkable script; drawing on the library’s archive to create a site-specific performance and film.
Julia C. Bishop gained her PhD in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1993. She is currently a part-time research fellow of the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, where she leads a project to make the James Madison Carpenter Collection of traditional song and drama available online and in a critical edition. Her publications include the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (2012) of which she was music editor. Julia is also a research associate at the University of Sheffield where she researches into children’s play, past and present, including work on the Iona and Peter Opie collection of children’s folklore.
Hallie Blejewski is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. Her primary research area is steelband music in Trinidad, South Africa, and Nigeria, but over the past few years she has been pursuing additional research on fiddle music from many regions. She is currently working with Mark Slobin to preserve and publish his field recordings from trips to Afghanistan in 1968 and 1972. This extensive collection features qobuz and ghichak fiddles used in various folk traditions. Hallie also spends time thinking about and performing non-traditional music, and she is very proud of her (occasional) hybrid steelband/klezmer ensemble, KlezleyPan.
Georgia Broughton is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work examines the traditional folk music and fiddling of Northern Europe and the power of musicians to shape political discourse and national identity. She has travelled extensively throughout Scotland and Norway for her field research, is a UCLA Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow, and was awarded a Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation grant from the UCLA Scandinavian Section that allowed her to attend this NAFCo workshop. Georgia has played violin for over twenty years and is a proud member of the American Federation of Musicians (Local 47), regularly for film and TV soundtracks and performing throughout Los Angeles.
Byron Dueck is Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Head of Music at the Open University. He received his PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago in 2005 following degrees in piano performance at the University of Minnesota and Wilfrid Laurier University. His research interests include North American Indigenous music and dance, the music of Cameroon, and how music mediates relationships. He is the author of Musical Intimacies and Indigenous Imaginaries: Aboriginal Music in Public Performance (Oxford University Press) and the co-editor, with Martin Clayton and Laura Leante, of Experience and Meaning in Musical Performance (Oxford University Press).
Joshua Dickson is Head of Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Born and raised in Alaska, he studied Scottish Gaelic at the University of Aberdeen (MA, 1996), followed by doctoral research in the history of the piping tradition of the southern Outer Hebrides at the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh (PhD, 2001). Josh is a piper, having performed publicly in the contemporary Gaelic music scene with Na Trì Seudan and in Allan MacDonald’s award-winning 2004 Edinburgh Festival recital series, ‘From Battlelines to Barlines’. He is the author of When Piping was Strong: Tradition, Change and the Bagpipe in South Uist (John Donald, 2006) and the editor of The Highland Bagpipe: Music, History, Tradition (Ashgate, 2009).
Stuart Eydmann is concerned with popular and traditional music in the modern era, especially instrumental revivals, and has undertaken studies on the fiddle, the clarsach, the free-reed and percussion instruments, on the musical cultures of Ulster and on the collecting and archiving of recorded sound. He was a lecturer at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and at the Open University and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and Traditional Artist in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. Stuart is a tutor at Edinburgh College of Art, founder/curator of the on-line archive raretunes.org and an active musician. He is in the preliminary stages of a project with the working title: Scottish traditional music and the personal archive in the age of the compact cassette.
Iain Fraser plays the fiddle and teaches. His first traditional tunes were learned from his Dad at an early age. Stirling Strathspey and Reel Society was another early influence as was competing in the Mod. Between 1990 and 1995 he took on and developed the Glasgow Fiddle Workshop from a small group meeting in his house to a broad range of classes operating in central Glasgow. He was principal fiddle teacher in the Scottish Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD), 1995-2005, before being appointed Head of Instrumental Music for the Scottish Borders Education Authority until 2011. He is now Music Director at the Merlin Academy of Traditional Music in Melrose.
Gaila Kirdienė is Associate Professor and senior researcher at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius. She holds a Master’s degree in Violin (1990) and Ethnomusicology (1992) from Lithuanian Academy of Music, and a PhD in Ethnology from Vytautas Magnus University (1998). She has had research stays in Gőttingen University, Germany (1995), and the Belarusian State Academy of Music (2011). Her research emphasizes Lithuanian folk fiddling and music making by Soviet deportees and political prisoners in Siberia. She is the author of Fiddle and Fiddling in Lithuanian Ethnic Culture (2000), Traditional Wedding Music of Eastern Aukštaičiai (2009), Anthology of Lithuanian Folk Fiddle Music (DVD, 2015) and co-author of Lithuanians and Music in Siberia (2013; all these works are in Lithuanian with English summaries). She plays fiddle and other Lithuanian traditional musical instruments, is the leader of traditional music group Griežikai (‘Musicians’).
Christine Kydd, one of Scotland’s respected traditional singers, began singing folk songs at school, performing from the age of ten. She has toured internationally. Through workshops and masterclasses, her work on tradition and culture includes arrangements for choirs, and songwriting and placemaking projects in schools and community. She holds an ADVS (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Voice PG) and an MLitt in Ethnology and Folklore (Elphinstone Institute). Her dissertation explores South Ronaldsay Boys Ploughing Match, an annual calendar custom and competition occurring on Orkney, Scotland. Presentations also include those on kists. Her main interests are song, dance, artefacts and calendar customs.
Chris McDonald Chris McDonald is an assistant professor of music at Cape Breton University. His recent research focusses on the style, history and development of the piano accompaniment used in Cape Breton’s fiddling tradition. His other research and publications focus on popular music studies, especially rock music and social class.
David McGuinness is the director of the group Concerto Caledonia, with whom he has recorded thirteen albums, mostly of historical Scottish repertoire. He is senior lecturer in music at the University of Glasgow. In 2007 he produced John Purser’s 50-part series Scotland’s Music for BBC Radio Scotland, and he has also been a composer for television and theatre, most notably for E4’s teen drama series Skins.
Tom McKean is Director of the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, dedicated to the promotion and study of the culture of the North-East and north of Scotland. He is a folklorist specializing in Scots and Gaelic song, custom and belief, and crafts. He’s particularly interested in creativity and the role traditional knowledge and skills can play in developing resilient communities.
Mats Melin,Swedish born traditional dancer, choreographer, and researcher, has worked professionally with dance in Scotland since 1995 and in Ireland since 2005. He has been engaged in freelance work nationally and internationally as well as having been Traditional Dancer in Residence for four Scottish Local Authorities. Mats co-started the dynamic Scottish performance group ‘Dannsa’ in 1999. He is a former member of the Scottish Arts Council's Dance Committee and Scottish Government Working Group on Traditional Arts, and currently an office bearer for Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland. Mats is a Lecturer in Dance at the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick, Ireland. He authored One with the Music: Cape Breton Step Dancing Tradition and Transmission (Cape Breton University Press, 2015).
Mats Nilsson is Associate Professor in Ethnology, at the Department of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. His main research fields are dance as dances, dancing, dancers and the discourse about dance through time and space. He teaches fieldwork methods and ethnological perspectives at all university levels. He was formerly a dance teacher, specializing in folk- and old time dances. As a member of folk dance groups he has toured in Europe, Peru, Malaysia and Japan.
Colin Quigley is Senior Lecturer and Course Director for Ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. He is an accomplished fiddler in several regional styles and 5-string banjo player. He has published two monographs on the traditional dance and fiddling of Newfoundland: Close to the Floor (1985) and Music from the Heart (1995). He takes a broader view of North Atlantic fiddling in articles appearing in journals such as the Yearbook of the ICTM and Ethnomusicology and fiddle ensemble traditions in Europe, with a focus in Transylvania.
Iain Richardson plays Scottish smallpipes, Border pipes and the Great Highland bagpipes. He studied piping under David Low and Fin Moore. A keen step dancer, he is passionate about piping for dancing and has made several pilgrimages to Cape Breton in Canada, where there is a strong tradition of playing pipes, fiddle and piano for step dancing. Iain is a regular performer and session player in and around Aberdeen. In his 'day job' as CEO of Vcodex Ltd, Iain is an expert on video formats and has given invited talks on digital video technology for organisations including the Smithsonian, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives.
Ian Russell, Professor Emeritus, is the former Director of the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen (1999-2014). His current research is focused on the traditional culture of NE Scotland, including singing and instrumental traditions, and festivalisation. Since 1969 he has conducted extensive fieldwork into singing traditions in the English Pennines, especially Christmas carolling – and has published The Sheffield Book of Village Carols (2011) and The Derbyshire Book of Village Carols (2012). He is the founder and Director of the Festival of Village Carols, and the President of the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention. His most recent publication, co-edited with Catherine Ingram, is Taking Part in Music: Case Studies in Ethnomusicology (Aberdeen University Press, 2013).
Heather Sparling is the Canada Research Chair in Musical Traditions and Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Cape Breton University. Her research areas encompass Nova Scotia Gaelic song, vernacular dance in Cape Breton, and Atlantic Canadian disaster songs. Her current interests include the intersections between language and music and in memorialization. She is the editor of MUSICultures and author of *Reeling Roosters and Dancing Ducks: Celtic Mouth Music* (2014, CBU Press). She is also the principal flutist of the Cape Breton Orchestra and a fluent Gaelic learner.
Jenny Sturgeon is a singer-songwriter from Aberdeenshire, now living in Shetland. The inspiration for my songs comes from folklore, historical events and personal experience, and having trained as a biologist my enthusiasm for nature creeps in to all my work. I play in a duo with Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs, Clype), and with Lauren MacColl and Ewan MacPherson in the alt-folk band Salt House. I’m involved in several projects including working as a songwriting workshop tutor, writing songs and tunes for St Kilda to celebrate 30 years of it being a World Heritage Site and collaborating with Aberdeen based artist and fabric designer Helen Ruth.
Timothy R. Tangherlini is a professor of folklore at UCLA, where he teaches in the Scandinavian Section, and in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. His recent work has focused on ‘Computational Folkloristics’, leveraging computational methods for the study of folklore. Among his recent works are a special issue of the Journal of American Folklore on ‘Computational Folkloristics’, the book, Danish Folktales, Legends and Other Stories (Seattle and Copenhagen: 2013), and the Danish Folklore Nexus (http://www.purl.org/danishfolklore), an online resource for the study of Danish folklore. He is also the author of Talking Trauma (Mississippi: 1998) and Interpreting Legend (New York: 2015). In 2016, he directed a programme at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics on Culture Analytics. His work has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, and Google.
Frances Wilkins is Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen. Her research interests include fiddle and free reed instrumental traditions in Scotland and North America, sacred singing traditions of the British Isles, and traditional music education and performance. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Northern Scotland and among Cree musicians and dancers in northern Canada. She is a concertina player who has performed professionally in numerous bands and duos since 1999. Her current musical work includes performances with Shetland fiddler and singer Claire White as Blyde Lasses, and with West Highland fiddler Ronan Martin.
Carley Williams hails originally from Vancouver, Canada, and is an avid fiddle player, with a particular interest in Cape Breton and Scottish fiddle traditions. She was a fiddle tutor and development worker with Scottish Culture & Traditions Association Aberdeen from 2005-2013 and has performed with various ceilidh bands around Aberdeen, from Hallyracket and the Rolling Stovies to Danse McCabre and Straefoot. Carley is also a PhD researcher in Ethnology and Folklore at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen. Besides research and music, Carley believes passionately in enthusing others about their local culture, facilitating events, workshops, and other initiatives which celebrate local traditions. Carley has been involved in co-ordinating NAFCos in Aberdeen (2006, 2010), is Secretary of the International Executive Board and will be Festival/Artistic Director of NAFCo 2018.