This page shows the information of all the outputs from the AHRC-funded research project Understanding Scotland Musically.
There will be updates to this page in future as more outputs are produced. Do get in touch if you have any questions.
The principal output from this project is a book:
Other formal scholarly academic outputs include so far:
McKerrell, Simon. (2014) ‘Traditional arts and the state: the Scottish case’, Cultural Trends (Scottish Cultural Policy special issue), Vol. 23, Issue 3, (2014).
I am currently working on another article that focuses on a) the cultural sociology of the Scottish traditional music audience and recently published another:
McKerrell S. 'Social distance and the multimodal construction of the Other in sectarian song'. Social Semiotics 2015, 25(4).
The key findings of this research grant were evidence from the mediatized and social discourse from the community of practice of Scottish traditional music that demonstrated:
• Authenticity in Scottish traditional music can be considered as a social discourse about negotiated belonging to 'Scotland' and 'Scottishness'
• That age, gender and literacy make no substantive difference to the community definitions of what 'Scottish traditional music' is, but that the key factors identified in defining this musical genre emerge in ranked order of importance, that Scottish traditional music should be:
1) ‘orally/aurally transmitted’,
2) ‘composed in a traditional style’ and
3) ‘sound traditional to me personally’.
• In many respects, the community of practice for this genre extends across territorial boundaries and nations. Musical deterritorialization is well established in Scottish traditional music.
• Actual musical performance is a very strong part of this musical genre with longevity of participation a key distinguishing factor amongst the community.
• The community of practice in STM is extremely well educated and demonstrates potentially very high rates of active participation when compared against the general population of Scotland.
• There is no statistically significant relationship between age and the degree to which respondents actively connect either in person, on social media or watch/listen to Scottish traditional music online.
• One of the key findings of this research is that the longer that someone performs STM, the more regularly they perform.
• In general, it is remarkable how similar the entire cohort’s views upon the definition and performance contexts are across gender, age, residency and educational qualifications are. This may suggest that participation in this musical genre itself constructs a strong and cohesive sense of belonging that is based in practice and aesthetics that can override other major social categories (needs testing further of course). Social cohesion for policy.
Future research out of the project
The key finding for me as a researcher from this project for future research focuses on the idea that we should be undertaking research into amateur and local community practice as a key site for musical genres, and we should be decentring professional practice in research narratives. In essence one of the key aspects of this research was that musical participation on a regular basis through time was the most important factor in developing a sense of belonging in this musical community (in contrast to older notions of authenticity and ethnicity or place of canonical repertoire).
Dr Gary West and I are preparing a co-edited book for publication with 18 papers from the Understanding Scotland Musically conference held in October 2014. This is as of March 2017 about to be submitted to Routledge where it is contracted for publication.
There are various summaries and video interviews available on this site.
All of the outputs from the blog are available now here. And basic results of the online survey are available here.
Webinar 17th February 2015, 3pm
On the 17th February I held an open access webinar to discuss the project, and in particular the basic results from the survey. The webinar can be viewed here:
If you would like to submit a question for discussion, you can do so by adding it here:
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If you would like to be kept up to date about this project and the research please add your email to the contact list (privately held):