Living with music: an ethnography of sessions in St. John's, Newfoundland

Breslin, Samantha (2011) Living with music: an ethnography of sessions in St. John's, Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (37MB)


This thesis offers an ethnographic account of the musical lives of musicians who play traditional Irish and Newfoundland music at sessions in St. John's, Newfoundland. Drawing on interviews and participant observation, I explore the significance of this music for musicians in terms of their self-definitions, social networks, senses of place and belonging, and livelihoods. I show how, in learning and playing this music, musicians also learn to become a particular type of person, with certain aesthetics, ethics, and behaviours associated with ideas of tradition, musicality, community, and place. I also explore the different ways that musicians express these ideas and the politics, hierarchies, and exclusions implicated in debates over what it means to be a traditional musician. I argue that, in becoming part of these negotiations, musicians establish their position within the St. John's music scene and organize their lives and construct their selves through the performance of this music.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9586
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 278-297.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: 2011
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Folk music--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Celtic music--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Folk musicians--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's--Interviews; Self-perception--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics