Prof. Dr. Dan Lundberg (Stockholm)
Theorizing Folk Music Competitions: The Mechanisms behind a New Trend of Music Competitions
SMG Sektion Bern
Sweden experienced a vogue of competitions in traditional music at the beginning of the 20th century. These ceased to exist in favour of fiddlers’ meetings («spelmansstämma») and the so-called «Zorn Trials» during the 1910s. While this – very much in contrast to the neighbouring Norway – reflected a general attitude against music competitions, especially with regard to traditional music, some further competitions in traditional dancing nevertheless developed. Yet, in the past decade competitions in traditional music have been re-emerging in Sweden. What are the motives behind these new musical competitions? And how far do they affect the musical content?
This presentation will discuss the impact of the increasing presence of folk music competitions on several levels, including
- the music: Are certain styles, genres, forms and musical qualities emphasised? Are there others that are difficult to use in the context of a contest? How are musical features adjusted to the contest arena?
- the social context: How does the contest affect the meeting between musicians and audience? Has the expectations on the respective roles changed? Has the music changed as a consequence? What does the contest format mean to an individual musician? Will there be gender differences?
- economy: Who controls the economical conditions? Who is making the decisions in the fields of economy and aesthetics? What does the arrangement around the contest occasion mean to the music and musicians?
- organization: How is the contest connected to established structures like cultural authorities and music organizations? What organizational networks are created around the music contests?
- music semiotics: What symbolic values are brought to the fore? Are musical languages reinterpreted?
- geography: How do contests contribute to the establishment and redefinition of the local venues? How does the competition change the status and self-image of the place where it is held?
(Der Vortrag wird in englischer Sprache gehalten.)