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Title: Reconsidering and contextualising the vernacular tradition : popular music and British manuscript compilations (1650-2000)
Author: Campbell, Stephen W. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 076X
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2012
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Current interest in traditional music is driving a search for new repertoire as scholars and enthusiasts seek to unearth working musical manuscripts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This thesis looks at a selection of such compilations, examining their origins and cultural contexts and re-contextualizing them within the current revivalist milieu. It examines the journey of melody from printed sources to performance, a process in which the manuscripts represent a key step: they are a conduit, a means through which music is created. The first chapter sets the scene for the thesis, exploring the origins and contexts of the manuscripts that will be considered. It offers a review of literature and presents a challenge to some of the accepted notions surrounding folk and traditional music, such as genre (a relatively recent construct), authenticity and the acquiring of melodies as an end in itself. The second chapter explores the current drive toward establishing regional styles, which are unstable constructs, and it examines the use of music as a catalyst for nationalist and racist agendas. It also concerns music as a product of the critical political economy and addresses aspects of repertoire, variation and the downward filtration of culture. It contextualizes twentieth-century interest in traditional music. Chapter Three approaches the chronological starting point of the thesis, John Playford’s English Dancing Master. It considers Playford’s impact on the many subsequent publications of country-dance music and the adoption of country-dance melodies into popular usage. As evidence of the deployment of these melodies along with military music and popular song, the pre-1800 manuscripts of Henry Atkinson, William Vickers and Joshua Jackson are scrutinised. Chapter Four addresses the main focus of the work, the anonymous Campbell I manuscript (circa 1810), which demonstrates a melange of dance music, military music, art music and song. The chapter highlights the interdependence of these musics and the social settings from which they emanate. Chapter Five, which considers the nineteenth-century manuscripts of Lawrence Leadley, Amelia Benwell, Francis Rippon and William Norris, shows how developments in musical instrument technology and industrialisation combined with a broadening complexity of technique and expertise to produce greater diversity. The final chapter argues that genre boundaries, as currently understood, are not borne out by the evidence presented in the manuscript compilations. The epilogue looks at the continuing use of score for the creation of music for social interaction through an examination of a recent manuscript, Campbell II. The thesis as a whole highlights a mismatch between the current perception of vernacular music and the actuality of that music in its original context.
Supervisor: Sorrell, Neil Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available