Mediating between the past and present: changing faces of the West Coast fiddle tradition in Scotland

Gilfedder, Mairi Therese (2015) Mediating between the past and present: changing faces of the West Coast fiddle tradition in Scotland. MMus(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis explores the development of the fiddle tradition in the West Coast of Scotland, which, in comparison with better-known fiddle traditions such as the North East, has been overlooked in the historical narrative. The paper investigates the changes that have occurred in the last thirty years as a result of globalisation and draws from interviews and sound recordings with a selection of fiddle players from the 1950's up to the present day.

The paper examines the performance styles of an older generation of fiddle players in the West Coast and identifies commonalities in their playing such as the influence of bagpipe ornamentation and repertoire as well as influences from the Gaelic song tradition. The paper also draws heavily from correspondence with Angus Grant, one of the foremost exponents of the West Coast Highland style of fiddle playing, in which he discusses the practices of the fiddle tradition in his youth as well as the changes he has witnessed over the years with a move towards a more high technology environment. Following on from this, the paper addresses the current day fiddle tradition and discusses interviews with a number of fiddle players from or now residing in areas in the West Coast, and shows how less travel restrictions as well as technology have led to an expansion of fiddle styles, and movements such as the Fèisean have encouraged a resurgence in Scottish traditional music.

The paper concludes that although there are still definite stylistic aspects of the West Coast style evident in the performances of current day players, regional styles of fiddle playing are dying out as younger players take influence from other styles and genres outwith their own. This leads to a discussion on the notion of mediating between the old and new and concludes that although this music comes out of an old tradition, it is constantly developing and changing, and it is up to those actively practising this musical tradition to decide and shape what comes next.

Item Type: Thesis (MMus(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Fiddle tradition, Scotland, oral tradition.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts
Supervisor's Name: McGuinness, Dr. David
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Miss Mairi Therese Gilfedder
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6098
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2015 08:29
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2015 10:15

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