Rory James Corbett, A Self-Reflexive Clawhammer Banjo-ology (MA, University College Cork, 2018)

These details defined Tue Apr 9 08:51:42 2019  edit
 Author:  Corbett, Rory James 
 Title:  A Self-Reflexive Clawhammer Banjo-ology 
 Degree, institution:  MA, University College Cork 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2018 
 Volumes, pp., etc.:  Main body (55pp.) / Appendix I & II (18 pp.), 10000 words 
 Supervisor(s):  Dr. Tríona Ní Shíocháin and Dr. Colin Maguire 
 General specialism:  Ethnomusicology 
 Content, timeframe:  1843–present 
 Content, key terms:  Concepts:
Genres, instruments: 
Dialectical Ethnomusicology; Hermeneutical Phenomenology; Clawhammer; A New Critical Organology; Subjugated Knowledge; Traditionality
Mick Daly; Joel Walker Sweeney; Dan Emmett; Frank Converse; Phil Rice
New York; Cork
Banjo; Old-time; Blackface Minstrelsy

Two overarching strands constitute the primary aspects of this thesis. Firstly, in Chapters 1 and 2 I historicise the 5-string banjo and downstroke creative practice, in order to better understand the complexities of the various meanings generated by banjo performance over this period of time. Secondly, in Chapter 3 I undertake a project which through a creative practice model, as outlined in Chapter 2, interrogates the meaning of historical sources pertaining to banjo.

This nuanced understanding is framed through the combined theoretical lenses of spatio-motor cognition, and embodiment theory with a particular focus upon generating new understandings upon the conceptual importance of the technique known as drop-thumb. Participant observation and dialectical fieldwork are the methods used towards this end. Paul Ricoeur’s methodology for interpretation posits that the move from preunderstandings to new understandings takes place along a hermeneutical arc (Ricoeur 1981). Following Timothy Rice’s adaptation of Paul Ricoeur’s interpretive method towards a subject-centred musical ethnography, this arc encapsulates my initial engagement with the living tradition of Old-Time music in Cork today, the dialectical fieldwork undertaken in relation to rendering the “Grape Vine Twist” in textualised forms with the assistance of Ling-Wei Chua and Mick Daly, and then subsequently to be reinterpreted by myself.