RETUNE – A toolbox for composing based on Hardanger fiddle music from Setesdal
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Original versionLien, A. (2020). RETUNE – A toolbox for composing based on Hardanger fiddle music from Setesdal (Doctoral thesis). University of Agder, Kristiansand.
Signature characteristics in music can inform our sense of a genre or repertoire or style’s particular processes and serve as tools for composing more of it. This combined scientific and artistic study of popular music performance explores how Hardanger fiddle characteristics based on the tradition from Setesdal can be described as compositional tools. Through music analysis and an investigation of compositional processes, the study uncovers and articulates often tacit insider knowledge of the primarily orally transmitted practice of the Hardanger fiddle. In terms of rhythm, the study analyses the foot stomp and its bowing; in terms of melodic structure, the study looks at the little-researched aspect of fingering. The fingering perspective is particularly relevant, as many Hardanger fiddlers read the fingers rather than a transcription when learning this music. The study also activates the folk music term tak, which is understood as a melodic unit deriving from technical fingering issues. By exploring the transformation of a tak, the study frames variation as a principal creative process in the Hardanger repertoire. The work uses embodied phenomenology, fieldwork and folk music terminology as its main approaches and ultimate demonstrates how research in smaller fields, such as folk music, can contribute insight into larger fields, such as popular musicology. This study’s emphasis on fingering contributes new perspectives on punctuation and variation in this repertoire. The use of Hardanger fiddle characteristics as tools for composing produces new tunes which tend to differ from my earlier composed works in both rhythm and melodic structure. The thesis narrative and a CD with new compositions document these results and possibilities.