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|Title:||‘Scolpire le parole’ [sculpting the words]: Context sensitivity in vocal and movement performance style of the Tuscan Maggio.|
|Keywords:||Italian traditional music|
sung popular theatre
|Publisher:||European Society for Ethnomusicology, University of Edinburgh|
|Citation:||Linda Barwick, 'Scolpire le parole' [sculpting the words]: Context sensitivity in vocal and movement performance style of the Tuscan Maggio." Paper delivered at the 1994 meeting of the European Seminar for Ethnomusicology, Oxford, UK. Conference proceedings originally published by Music Department, University of Edinburgh, http://www.music.ed.ac.uk/colloquia/conferences/esem/bar.html (2005).|
|Abstract:||In the maggio (sung popular theatre) of the Garfagnana valley north of Lucca, the main dimensions open to improvisation, and thus to context sensitivity, are music and movement. The song session, lasting about three hours, is defined by the enactment of a written text, consisting of about 170 stanzas and read to performers a line at a time by an on-stage prompt. The same text is presented on a number of occasions through the summer months in a number of different outdoor venues. Whether performances take place in a clearing in the chestnut forest on a Sunday afternoon or, at night-time, in a piazza within one of the many small towns in the Garfagnana valley, the audience members who surround the performance space are vociferous in their applause and shouted encouragement for particularly appropriate and/or well-executed embellishments to the vocal line and movements (including stylised gestures and sword-fights). Within the Garfagnana, particular characteristics of music and movement have been traditionally associated with different localities. These days, the situation is considerably more complex, as massive emigration and other social changes have decreased the pool of performers and necessitated the formation of companies comprising members from a number of different localities. In addition, improved transport networks have meant that companies from the neighbouring Emilian area occasionally perform in the Garfagnana, so that performers and audiences are exposed to a much wider variety of performance styles than would have been possible in the past. Analysis reveals that rather than singing a fixed melodic contour, singers enjoy a considerable degree of flexibility in performance of the standard stanzaic melody. While most stanzas will be performed in a style associated with the singer's place of origin, other possibilities are available, which may be exploited depending on the contour being used by the other singers (some of whom may come from distant localities using a different style), on the place of performance (and thus the style most appreciated by the local audience), and, importantly, on the context within the narrative. Unusual contours and exceptionally elaborate ornamentation may be used to mark particularly important dramatic or emotional points in the text. Musical and movement aspects of the performance are thus responsive to the performance group, to the dramatic text, and to the audience.|
|Type of Work:||Conference paper|
|Type of Publication:||Pre-print|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Papers. PARADISEC|
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