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Title: The Mallorcan bagpipes (xeremies) : an anthropological portrait of an instrument
Author: Balosso-Bardin, Cassandre
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9395
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This is the first academic study of the xeremies, the vernacular bagpipe of Mallorca. Local literature focuses mainly on the instrument's repertoire, its organology and the older generation of pipers, while a locally-published journal gives insights into contemporary practice. My thesis provides a full analysis of the instrument using anthropological and ethnographic tools. Targeted first and foremost to the local community and then to the international bagpipe scene, my study paints a portrait of the instrument, examining it from different points of view and studying its role and status in different contexts. Traditionally played by men from rural parts of Mallorca, the xeremies entered a period of decline in the twentieth century due to the combined factors of modernisation, urbanisation and political dictatorship. The practice of the xeremies was sustained at the margins until a revival in the 1970s and 1980s, when a new generation of young people took up the instrument and initiated a movement that led to widespread take up of the bagpipes on the island. The approach of my study is empirical, using data gathered during a total of 13 months' fieldwork in Mallorca. As a practicing musician in the field, the richness of the information people shared with me led me to incorporate in the thesis ethnographic stories that support my argument and initiate discussion or analysis. Chapter 1 focuses on the organology of the xeremies, reviewing changes made over the years, especially changes since the revival of the 1970s and 1980s. Chapter 2 goes back to the instrument, looking at its standardisation since the revival began. Chapter 3 gives the historical background of the instrument, placing it in a wider geopolitical context. The revival is explored in Chapter 4. Chapter 5, 6 and 7 look at different contexts in which the Mallorcan bagpipes are used: politics, tourism and rituals. Finally, the conclusion opens onto new areas of research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral