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Durham e-Theses
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Styles of Transcription in Ethnomusicology

Ciantar, Philip (1996) Styles of Transcription in Ethnomusicology. Masters thesis, Durham University.

[img]Video (AVI) (VHS cassette and two audio cassettes: Compressed Video named “Chapter 4 Transcription and the ethnography of musical performance 09.05.97”.)
[img]Audio (MP3) (VHS cassette and two audio cassettes: Cassette tape named “Styles of transcription in ethnomusicology the musical examples. Chapter 2 examples 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 and chapter 5 examples 5.2, 5.3a, 5.3b, 5.3c, 5.4, 5.5a, 5.5b, 5.6a, 5.6b, 5.7”) - Supplemental Material


Transcription has to do with the writing of musical sounds. In the field of ethnomusicology, transcription has long been considered as an important skill which should lead the ethnomusicologist toward the analysis of folk music, non-Western art music and contemporary music in oral tradition. The objectives behind a musical analysis will determine the style of transcription to be applied. The objective of this work is to evaluate what has already been said about the various styles of transcription that have been applied in ethnomusicology. This evaluation takes place within a wider context that may vary from the philosophical, sociological, historical, and technical point of view. Apart from this, the work attempts to provide a practical aspect by applying two styles of transcription to a genre of Maltese folk singing called ghana (pronounced: 'ana').The first chapter provides a brief historical survey of ethnomusicological transcription spanning from the earliest efforts of European missionaries in Eastern countries to recent attempts in computerized transcriptions. This chapter also attempts to introduce the reader to a number of terms frequently used in the ethno-transcription debate. The second chapter focuses on aurally made transcriptions in Western notation. This chapter examines the advantages and the limitations of both the aural technique and Western notation when applied to Western and non-Western oral musical traditions. The third chapter evaluates the advantages and the disadvantages of three notation systems which have been proposed and used as an alternative to Western staff notation; these are: the cipher notation system (as applied in Javanese gamelan studies); hand and electronic graph notations; together with indigenous notation systems. The fourth chapter attempts to combine, as far as is possible, a transcription with the ethnographic data elicited during the musical performance under investigation. The fifth chapter seeks to examine the limitations and advantages of collaborating in the process of transcription and analysis with a performer unfamiliar with the written aspect of music and with the academic enquiry in general.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1996
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:23

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