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Med rösten som instrument: perspektiv på nutida svensk vokal folkmusik
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The point of departure for this ethnomusicological study is the increasing interest in vocal genres and expressions in Swedish folk music milieus from the late 1980s. This “vocal vogue” is linked to the process in which folk music moves from a state of revitalization to a state of established “genre” or subculture/micromusic. The aim of this study is to explore how contemporary folk singers, practically and conceptually, relate to source singers, stylistic traits, repertoire etc., in Swedish traditional music. The conceptual background is a discussion of cultural heritage, musical canon, tradition and revitalization as connected and overlapping phenomena. To this is added my model of recreation, reshaping/transformation and renewal/innovation as a way of describing contemporary singers’ approaches to “tradition”, as well as the creativity and re-creativity of a mainly oral/aural music. A great part of the source material consists of interviews with active folk singers and records issued by them. Using my own experience as part of my field studies, I endeavour to combine an insider’s and an outsider’s view.


The empirical part of the thesis is dedicated to the interviewed singers’ approaches to source singers, repertoire, singing style, and performance and arrangement. Selection, performance, and musical expression are regarded in relationship to the increasing institutionalization, formalization etc., of folk music. Some singers take a more intuitive approach to singing, where others have analyzed stylistic traits from archival recordings, using these as pedagogic tools in folk music education. Today, several of the “traditional” techniques are used simultaneously, and style markers are fortified in contemporary singing styles and arrangements. Lilting, cattle calls, and other kinds of vocable music occupy a central position, not least on the borders between folk music and e.g., jazz and improvisational music, an area where there is a focus on the instrumental use of the voice.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Svenskt visarkiv , 2007. , 354 p.
, Svenskt visarkivs handlingar, ISSN 0081-9824 ; 5
Keyword [en]
authenticity, creativity, cultural heritage, ethnomusicology, folk music, formalization, gender, genre-crossing, institutionalization, mediaization, oral transmission, performance, post-revival, professionalization, repertoire, revival, revitalization, singing style, tradition, Sweden, vocal folk music
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35887ISBN: ISBN 978-91-977013-1-0OAI: diva2:349795
Nordiska museets forskarskola
Available from: 2010-09-17 Created: 2010-09-08 Last updated: 2010-09-17Bibliographically approved

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