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Towards Practice Research in Ethnomusicology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon McKerrell



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This paper argues for ethnomusicologists to begin using performance not just as a tool to understand the social and cultural field, but to use music and dance as methods in ‘translational’ ethnomusicology that focuses upon the translation and communication of artistic performance aesthetics and to theorize a space for research outcomes that are sited in original performative knowledge, explored, produced and delivered through performance itself. The paper briefly surveys some of the key historical discussions of musical performance in/as research and the epistemological challenges that surround a methodologically-defined field such as ethnomusicology where there is no central musical canon. The paper introduces the concept of 'emic resistance' where the researcher-performer resists translating their non-verbal, somatic aesthetic musical knowledge into text. The paper concludes by drawing on some of the most recent developments in both ethnomusicological and closely related performance-analytical scholarship to propose a translational model for practice research in ethnomusicology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McKerrell S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ethnomusicology Forum

Year: 2021

Issue: ePub ahead of Print

Online publication date: 25/08/2021

Acceptance date: 09/08/2020

Date deposited: 11/03/2021

ISSN (print): 1741-1912

ISSN (electronic): 1741-1920

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/17411912.2021.1964374


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