Rachel Ainsworth and Sarah Worden (NMS)
Towards an Understanding of the Jean Jenkins Archive
The ethnomusicology archive of Jean Jenkins (1922-1990) was first established by the Royal Scottish Museum (now National Museums Scotland) in 1980, when the museum purchased Jenkins’ personal collection of musical instruments and cultural artefacts. After Jenkins’ death in 1990, her rare sound recordings, photography, and paper archives were bequeathed to the museum, as indicated by her estate (Knowles and Lewandowski 2012). Since the acquisition of the archives by the museum, it has been an under-used resource at NMS – as few scholars have investigated the rich resources which make up the Jenkins’ archive.
During a short period as an intern at the National Museum of Scotland to catalogue the Jenkins paper archive one of the authors took the opportunity to raise awareness of the potential of the archive, in this instance by drawing on information uncovered in the archive to consider motivations and influences, both personal and social, of Jenkins career as an ethnomusicologist. The focus of this paper is Jenkins’ affiliation with World Heritage agencies, and in particular her involvement with the World of Islam Trust – which developed the World of Islam Festival held in London in 1976. The Festival promoted the vast arts collaboration between London’s major museums, the British Government, and numerous Islamic nations (Lenssen: 2008). Within the sphere of the festival, Jenkins organized a key exhibition at the Horniman Museum entitled ‘Music and Musical Instruments’. In preparation for the exhibition, Jenkins traveled to a number of Islamic countries, collecting musical instruments, sound recordings, and associated material culture (NMS ref: 42.53). In this paper a number of personal and cultural factors that influenced her career and Jenkins’ different reasons for encouraging the preservation of cultural heritage will be introduced. The main aim of the study is to introduce researchers to the potential of the Jenkins’ archive as a resource for future scholarly research, and stimulate further dialogue and discourse.
Sarah Baker (Griffith University)
Affective archiving and collective collecting in do-it-yourself popular music museums and archives
This paper explores the collective processes of collecting and associated practice of archiving affectively in popular music archives and museums that are distinctly ‘doityourself’ (DIY). DIY archives/museums are places founded by music enthusiasts and rely on the contributions of volunteers who share a desire to preserve music artefacts and/or recordings. They emerge from within communities of popular music consumption, where groups of interested people have undertaken to ‘doitthemselves’, creating places to store – and in some cases, display publicly – the material history of popular music culture. As ‘selfauthorised’ sites of popular music heritage (Roberts and Cohen, 2013), these DIY institutions share similar goals to national institutions in regards to preservation, collection, accessibility and national interest. However, they do so with limited financial support, relying on volunteer labour, grant funding, memberships and donations to remain operational, and are often dealing with significant space constraints.
In this paper, I draw on interviews undertaken at DIY institutions as a way of thinking through the archival ecologies of these places and the extent to which a collective form of collecting, in which numerous volunteers contribute to the collecting efforts of an institution, shapes the affective dimension of DIY archives and museums (see Baker and Huber, 2013). Collecting collectively helps foster a strong sense of community among workers and emotional connections between volunteers and objects in their care. The paper considers how collective collecting is a central feature of the DIY practice of ‘archiving affectively’.
Kieran Curran (University of Edinburgh)
“You Are Such A Daredevil, You Are Such A Collector” – The Contemporary Appeal of Cassettes
On the 7th of September 2013, a strange event occurred. After 5 years of International Record Store Day’s promotion of both “Mom ‘n’ Pop” and “Curmudgeonly Sociopath” record shops alike, an innovation called International Cassette Store Day began, despite the obvious scarcity of such enterprises. Established labels such as 4AD and Bella Union got in on the act, releasing limited edition cassettes by Deerhunter and the Flaming Lips; niche tape imprints such as London’s Night School were a driving force.
The birth of this concept – set to happen once more in 2014 – pointed to a more general resurgence of interest in cassettes, often as an ornamental addendum to digital downloads (cheaper and easier to produce than vinyl), but occasionally adopted as a conscious reaction against the vast and diffuse listening collections of the digital era.
This talk focuses on interviews conducted with the often overlapping categorisations of fans, musicians, label bosses and promoters in Glasgow and Edinburgh over the past 6 months on contemporary cassette cultures. Particular attention in this paper will be paid to the significance of the object itself – its sonic properties, its look and feel, and its status as a commodity. Underpinning this is the dichotomy between d.i.y indie pop and noise music, genres which have (more steadfastly than others) held onto the appeal of tape.
Ruth F. Davis (University of Cambridge)
Music Collecting in Mandatory Palestine: Robert Lachmann’s “Oriental Music” Broadcasts
In the spring of 1935, less than two years after he was dismissed from his post in the Prussian State Library under the Nazi racial laws, the ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann arrived in Jerusalem to establish an Oriental Music Archive in the newly-founded Hebrew University. Over the following three years he made nearly one thousand metal disc recordings of the so-called “Oriental” communities (including Jews, Christians, Muslims and Samaritans) living in and around Jerusalem. Lachmann viewed the different oral traditions he recorded as a living archaeology of past musical practices, revealing distinct chronological layers in the evolutionary development of music. In strife-ridden 1930s Palestine, however, it was above all the inclusiveness of his vision that appealed to the pacifistic political ideology of the University’s leadership. Adopting a complementary rhetoric, Lachmann insisted that his work could help promote better understanding between Europeans and their ‘Oriental neighbors’ and between Jews and Arabs.
This paper focuses on my recently published edition of “Oriental Music”—a series of twelve radio programmes Lachmann gave in English for the Palestine Broadcasting Service in 1935-1936. The programmes were accompanied by live performances by local musicians and singers, simultaneously recorded on metal disc. I consider the extent to which Lachmann’s collecting and outreach activities as exemplified by these broadcasts informed subsequent collections of traditional music in Israel and Palestine; questions of ownership raised by the recordings and their publication; and the value of his collection— music historical, ethnographic and symbolic—for musicians and music scholars today.
Mat Flynn (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts)
Access all areas – A re-evaluation of the record collection
In behavioural economics the concept of the endowment effect explains why consumers value the things they own more than identical products they don’t own. In many ways, this theory goes to the heart of understanding the value music consumers place upon their record collections. Despite this, in strict copyright terms, music consumers never actually own the music. Any record collection, irrelevant of its format, is essentially a means of access to a copy of the songs and master recordings that are the property of the rights holder. However, because of the endowment effect, record collections have always provided the illusion of music ownership for consumers.
In contrast to consumers illusions of ownership, rights holders continually seek to control and commodify how the music they own is used by consumers. Compared to all previous unit based models, music streaming better realises the actuality of the business transaction between the music rights holder and the music consumer. If, as is seemingly likely, streaming emerges as a significant choice for 21st Century music consumption, it will probably become increasingly apparent that consumers have never actually owned the music they have purchased. By lessening the endowment effect, the mainstream adoption of streaming risks shattering consumers’ illusion of ownership. Potentially, this shift in perception could diminish the overall economic and symbolic value of recorded music. This paper proposes to explore the possible changes in the value attributed to recorded music when consumers no longer perceive that they own their music collections.
Lisa Foster (Guestroom Records, Kentucky)
Waxing Public: Why physical products and purveyors matter in the digital age
While music exists in many forms, vinyl elicits a language that transcends visual and textual binaries in favor of a holistic discussion of musical textures and dimensions. As an owner/manager of an independent record store, I listen to customers cite a synaesthetic engagement with vinyl, noting the “warmth” of sound, aesthetics of production, and an ability to “hold” and “touch” albums as central to the listening experience. Interestingly, this sensory experience is often articulated alongside a clear civic consciousness. In addition to the music, customers “want to support” local business, “prefer not to have to buy” online, and “appreciate” how stores contribute to their communities. Currently, over 80% of our total sales are vinyl records.
Using cultural and public sphere theories, I interrogate the relationship between collectors’ synaesthetic engagement and political participation in the independent record store context. I argue musical modes of action in the public sphere may challenge previous conceptions of democratic publics as reliant on critical rationality (Habermas) or textual circulation (Warner). Vinyl collecting suggests a shared sensory and political experience as fundamental to public formation. In offering dialectic, social space, hard-to-find physical products, and a location for information and events, I further argue that stores collaborate with collectors in the formation of alternative counter-publics.
The relationship between vinyl collectors, independent record stores, and cultural counterpublics highlights the significance of materiality in public culture. Physical products may be more than consumer goods; they may be nodal points of public formation and action.
Roddy Hawkins (University of Manchester)
Collecting, curating, consuming: questions of visibility and collecting in the case of the compilation album
This paper forms a small, exploratory part of a developing material theory of the compilation album. Within this context, the proposed paper asks to what extent collecting is the significant factor in understanding what differentiates commercial, major-label compilation albums from other modes and forms of compiling music (such as mix tapes and playlists) and from the bewildering variety of other music-related objects or ‘things’ that might be subject to collection. The compilation album has an interesting double function in this respect, since it is both subject to collection and, in its form and presentation, an embodiment of a particular collection, or compilation, of music. It is the complexity of this double function which I am concerned to engage with here.
The first half of the paper, then, marks a distinction between collecting as practice and the representation of collecting that compilation albums, as it were, embody. The second half moves from curation to consumption and similarly here, too, a tension is drawn out between collecting and consuming. Overall, in both respects I emphasise the invisibility of the compilation album as an object of scholarly research on music ― an invisibility which results in part from the logic of the compilation, a logic which decentres the artist. Insofar as music collecting and scholarly study has, until recently, largely been drawn toward artist-oriented objects, I suggest that in respect of its consumption and its curatorial element, the invisibility of the compilation provides an interesting example with which to engage with the material complexity of collecting.
Noel Lobley (University of Oxford)
Curating Ethnographic Sound Galleries
No human sense is more neglected in ethnographic museums than sound. But how do you curate and relate the experience of sound? What are the possible relationships between ethnographic sound archives, recorded communities and other audiences? What is the future of sound curation?
Drawing on case studies working with some of the world’s largest collections of ethnographic recordings – including Hugh Tracey’s The Sound of Africa series (The International Library of African Music, South Africa) and the Louis Sarno BaAka archive (Pitt Rivers Museum, UK) – I will illustrate and analyse practical outcomes from my interdisciplinary pro-active sound curation. I consider the value of combining approaches from ethnomusicology, sound studies, museum anthropology, digital humanities and exhibition design for the development of ‘Sound Galleries’, an ongoing curated series of interactive experiential events.
Today, digital circulation of ethnographic recordings is promoting new listening engagements among expanding international audiences, raising awareness of social problems facing increasingly marginalized communities. Ethnographic recordings are increasingly being used by sound artists, DJs, choreographers, filmmakers and researchers to develop new practices and responses. For example, the world’s largest archive of BaAka field recordings is currently circulating online, in museum gallery spaces and beyond in order to develop interdisciplinary projects linking ethnomusicologists, eResearch centres, conservationists, and BaAka communities. Accordingly, I introduce my current research exploring ways in which ethnographic recordings can ultimately be reconnected with ‘source communities’ for their benefit, creating responsible and reciprocal communicative networks between academic institutions, eResearchers and local communities requesting access to their own archived sound heritage.
Cathlin Macaulay (University of Edinburgh)
Transmission and Transformation: On Collecting and Collections at the School of Scottish Studies
The School of Scottish Studies was set up in 1951 at the University of Edinburgh with a remit of collecting, researching, archiving and publishing material relating to what was then called the folk-life and folklore of Scotland. This included the study of material culture, traditional Gaelic and Scots song, instrumental music, oral narrative, custom and belief, place-names, dialectology etc. This placed on a collective and institutional level, processes of collecting which had previously been the provenance of individuals. Over the past sixty years many thousands of traditional songs and tunes have been recorded by staff, students and associates of the School, richly contextualised by the material gathered alongside. The recordings are preserved and archived – but what happens next? This paper will focus on access and dissemination – making the recordings available in the areas and communities from which they originated and to new communities of artists and archive users. The on-line resource, Tobar an Dualchais/ KistoRiches, has enabled transmission of traditional repertoires while recent artist/musicians’ residencies, based in the School of Scottish Studies Archives, have examined and creatively re-imagined concepts of collecting and archiving in performance. These projects and attendant issues related to collecting and dissemination, issues such as ownership, ethics, context and copyright, will be explored in this paper.
Lee Marshall (University of Bristol)
Streaming music services and music collecting
At the turn of the century there was some debate over how digitisation may affect music collecting. So far, however, there has been less discussion about the impact of streaming music services such as Spotify and Deezer and, given that these services are allegedly destined to become the future model of music consumption, their influence may be profound. In this presentation, I shall offer some reflections of how streaming music services have the potential to affect the nature of music collecting. Working from Benjamin’s Unpacking My Library essay, I shall outline how streaming music has the potential to undermine three central pillars of music collecting – ordering, owning and desiring – weakening the collector’s bond to his or her music. I shall also briefly discuss the implications of these trends for music consumption more broadly, and how the owners of streaming services are seeking to alleviate some of the potential problems.
Rosemary Richards (University of Melbourne)
A young woman’s search for identity: Georgiana McCrae’s ‘Gordon Castle Music Book’, c. 1827-1828
Among manuscript music collections belonging to people who lived in Australia in the nineteenth-century, those compiled by Georgiana McCrae (1804-90) provoke questions of interest to researchers in women’s musical history, migration and identity. This paper will focus on McCrae’s ‘Gordon Castle Music Book’, part of the McCrae Family Papers in the State Library of Victoria. McCrae (1804-1890), the illegitimate daughter of Jane Graham and the Fifth Duke of Gordon, was born and educated in London. McCrae transcribed pieces in the ‘Gordon Castle Music Book’ while living in Scotland in 1827-1828, at a time when she lost her position at Gordon Castle and was not able to marry the man she preferred. Musical items included songs found in different volumes of Smith’s Scotish Minstrel, published in Edinburgh by Purdie, c. 1820-1824. McCrae brought her collections with her when she migrated to Australia in 1840-1841 and added to them afterwards. Her attachment to the musical culture of her youth and to her status as a Gordon were mainstays of her identity. Her family and friends valued her collections as well as her musical example. An investigation of McCrae and her manuscript music collections can shed light on her personal biography as well as on wider issues of Scottish and Australian musical history.
Veronica Skrimsjö (Liverpool Hope University)
Where I End and You Begin: ‘George’ – a Case Study of a Record Dealer/Collector
The (vinyl) record collector often speak of their favourite ‘haunts’ where they know they can either find the record or just the next record for their collection. Usually these places consist of second-hand and/or independent record shops, record fairs or market stalls and, more recently, online sites. More often than not, the proprietors of these places are themselves collectors and enthusiasts willing to share knowledge and information and engaging in conversation surplus to the traditional seller-consumer relationship. Where and how, then, does the dealer ‘end’ and the collector ‘start? This paper will examine the dealer-as-collector, and vice verse, through the case study of ‘George’ who worked as a record dealer throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, and has continued to regard himself as a record collector, which he distinguishes from the ‘vinyl junkie’, to use ‘George’s’ own terminology. Via interviews undertaken over the course of several years, ‘George’ was able to provide insights into the world of the record dealer and the blurring of the lines between the dealer and the collector. Perhaps the main issue raised by ‘George’, which this paper aims to deal with, is how exactly do we define a record collector and what does it entail to collect records.
Jacek Szczepanek (University of the Arts, Berlin)
Collective Collecting. Perspectives of Collecting for Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicology has developed a particular way of collecting music. First, it fears that music would disappear and aims to protect it. Second, it employs technology (recording, notation) that is superior to that used to make the collectable music. Third, it is institutional and thus its collecting has to contribute to the society which established it – maintain its pride and prestige, with research and education as good means.
While the very existence of institutions which cultivate ethnomusicology is subject to earnest attacks1, it grabs attention of artists, theorists, musicians, the public. It is a playground for curatorial/creational activities2, partly because of the attractive dated feel of the science and its collections, and partly for the rediscovery of its methods for other subject matters.
This paper aims to map, analyse, and defend the contemporary mutations of the idea of collecting popular music for common good. The modern obsession with disappearing is still there, even though the cultures worth saving are not traditional anymore, but ephemeral. The technological gap between collector and informant is narrowed when ready-made records are gathered. Documenting technological innovations erases this gap completely3. “Curatorial ethnomusicology” is cultivated in eye-opening projects such as Sahel Sounds, Sublime Frequencies, Syrphe Records.
How is all this viewed by institutions which have grounded ethnomusicology and its collecting methods, maintained and developed them for decades? An answer will be attempted by looking at the activities of the Berlin Phonogram Archive in 2014 and the discourses about them inside the institution.
1 e.g. protest against Ethnological Museum in Berlin, host of the Berlin Phonogram Archive, see http://www.no- humboldt21.de/resolution/english/
2 e.g. Tarek Atoui’s Berlin Biennale 2014 project at the Berlin Phonogram Archive
3 e.g. works by Louise Meintjes, Michael Veal, and myself
Mojca Terzan (University of Ljubljana)
In Search of Black Treasure: Vinyl Record Collecting in Slovenia
My perfectionism had undeniably ascended through the record collecting practice. I will bring forward an example about my neighbor. He washes his car three times a week, irrespective of whether he had driven the car that same week or not. I wash my car three times a year, while I wash my records every day.
(Conversation with Roman P., 5. 12. 2012)
In this paper I examined the phenomena of amateur record collecting, which I tend to present through five juxtapositions. The entirety of my research took place in various fairs and vinyl appreciation evenings located throughout Slovenia. This also included four different interviews with Slovenian record collectors and one interview with an American record collector. The methods used by these collectors in furthering their acquisition, representation and general maintenance of records remained one of the main focus points of my thesis. I also tried to explore the influence of various artefacts on an individual’s identity and their contribution to the expansion of cultural capital. Examining the time and resources these collectors were prepared to invest in maintaining this particular practice made me further explore their emotional attachments while at the same time giving them the incentive to question something that is entirely self-evident.
Frances Wilkins (University of Aberdeen)
Transatlantic Sounds: Recording the Cree Fiddlers of James Bay
In 2011 I embarked on a research project involving ethnographic fieldwork in the James Bay region of Northern Canada. The main aim was to document and research the fiddle music and dance traditions of the James Bay Cree which emerged as a result of cultural contact with Scottish fur traders in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Unlike comparable traditions in Canada and Scotland, there had been no previous in-depth academic enquiry into the James Bay fiddle tradition. The music is fragile in the sense that it has benefited less than comparable traditions from collection, promotion, transmission, and academic enquiry, and is considered to be in decline due to aging performers and a lack of interest among younger generations. Collecting and studying this repertoire has been vital as a means of exploring the shared musical history of James Bay and Scotland and gaining a better understanding not only James Bay fiddle music, but of the Scottish tradition from which it is derived.
A major aspect of the project was to make audio and video recordings of the practitioners performing in situ and speaking in interview situations. In this paper I will be discussing the experience of collecting music in the James Bay area, the links between music and cultural memory, the development of partnerships with James Bay musicians, and the ways in which this research has succeeded in validating the musical tradition among inhabitants and practitioners. The paper will include audio and video examples from fieldwork.
Katherine Williams (University of Bristol/Cardiff University)
Newport Up! Liveness, artifacts, and the seductive menace of jazz recordings revisited
Jed Rasula’s compelling analysis of the construction of jazz history through the ‘seductive menace’ of recordings opens up many questions about the nature of jazz records as historical artifacts. The idea that a ‘live’ jazz recording can fix in time a seemingly spontaneous moment of improvisation is problematic in itself, and the way that these recordings are reified, collected and studied by jazz fans, musicians and scholars imbues them with cultural heft.
I use the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s infamous performance at the Newport Festival in 1956 as a case study with which to investigate the place of the live recording in jazz. Although Ellington had agreed with Columbia Records to release the live version of the performance, mic placement on the night meant that the recording was unsuitable. The performance released a few days later was a hastily assembled studio re-creation of the live gig.
In this paper, I translate Philip Auslander’s ideas of liveness in popular music into a jazz setting, theorizing the implication of the deception of a generation of jazz followers. Rasula’s ‘seductive menace’ is thrown further into question as I compare the 1956 Newport recording with remotely recorded versions of the original performance discovered and released in 1999. I use the Ellington Orchestra’s 1956 performances and recordings as a springboard with which to explore the construction of a globally accepted jazz narrative through jazz recording and collection, suggesting that a revision of jazz history may be in order.