Public tradition in an urban context: an occupational folklore study of musicians in St. John's

Fraser, Ingrid A. (1981) Public tradition in an urban context: an occupational folklore study of musicians in St. John's. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis examines the occupational folklore and folklife of bar musicians in St. John's, Newfoundland. In carrying out the research, three methods have been employed: formal interview, participant-observation, and questionnaires. Eleven musicians were interviewed and the performances of many more observed in a number of bars in or close to the downtown area of St. John's. Questionnaires were distributed to the bar patrons who made up their audiences. -- Rather than taking a generic or biographical approach> as has been previously used, a locus, the bars in which musicians perform, is the principal focus. -- The main objective of this study is to describe and analyze what it is that musicians do each night in the bars. Before this examination could be made, a descriptive framework had to be developed within which to view bar behaviour. Accordingly the thesis is divided into three major sections: the first offers a description of the bars, noting their types, clientele, physical structure, and management; the second examines the attitudes and expectations of performers towards professionalism, the union, management, status, and role; the third discusses performer/audience relationships and interaction. -- It was concluded that in order to survive in the bars, musicians must employ a number of occupational strategies which are used to counter the often disruptive effects of audience behaviour. Such strategies are as much a part of the work technique as the performance of a song. They are enacted to deal with such hazards as drunks, troublemakers, and inattentive audiences. These strategies are learned through the constant doing of the job, as musicians learn to anticipate possible situations and encounters in the bar and to reflexively respond to them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10507
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 257-263.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1981
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Bars (Drinking establishments)--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Musicians--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's.

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