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Ethnography

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  • #109731

    That post reminded me of my Cultural Anthropology course in college, where we were required to locate a subculture and write an ethnography describing their lingo.

    It occurs to me that we don’t have that much lingo, or do we?

    #109732
    tony-morosco
    Member

    Sure we do, although some of it overlaps. We use general musical terms that the average person doesn’t but other musicians would typically understand, and some specific harp related terms. We also speak in terms of unique details which may be in relatively plain English but are referring to things the average person might not get. Like most of us understand the difference if we say “bridge pin” versus “tuning pin”.

    We talk about “wolf notes” and “false strings”. We use terms like ‘Bisbigliano” and “pres de la table”. We argue about French vs Salzedo technique. We talk about the “knee block” and “pedal rods” and “linkages” and “levers”.

    The average person may know what a lever is, but they probably don’t have any idea of the context in which we use it.

    I think someone with no knowledge of the harp would probably have a hard time following some of our conversations due to the terms we use and the way we use them.

    #109733
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    >I think someone with no knowledge of the harp would probably have a hard time following some of our conversations due to the terms we use and the way we use them.

    Several years ago I took my style 23, which had been dropped, to a conference to have it evaluated, then was chatting with another harpist who also had problems. The conversation went something like this:

    “Carl says I just need a new neck, but Peter thinks I may need a whole new body. How about you?”

    “Oh, I just need a foot.”

    #109734
    Jerusha Amado
    Participant

    Barbara,

    I chuckled when reading your post.

    #109735
    Misty Harrison
    Participant

    These postings are right we do have lingo about music and instruments. But there’s also lingo about being a musician and having gigs and regulations and jazz playing being smokin’ or microphones being hot or about passages being “noodle-y” and things swinging, etc.

    #109736
    tony-morosco
    Member

    Exactly.

    We have a specific vocabulary we share with musicians. We also have sub vocabularies we share with other players of our instrument. With other musicians who play the same genres of music we do. With others who work in other ways in the business side of music…

    I am reminded of one of my favorite swing songs by Levey Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers:

    All the other cats were gathering round

    To see what he was trying to prove

    But anyone could plainly see

    He was pulling them out of the groove

    At last the leader turned around and said

    Listen Pops, you had better stop

    There you go, you did it again

    And you just beeped

    When you should have bopped.

    #109737
    David Ice
    Participant

    I was at a party in the UK where I met Dr. Mike Parker, a fellow harpist.

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