Knowing by Doing: Connecting to the Field in Irish Music through Creative Practice on the Cello

Kaylie Streit

Ethnomusicology, University College Cork

Abstract

This paper explores the potential for creative practice to inform ethnographic research through a case study of classical cellists who have transitioned into Irish traditional music performance. In my own creative practice, I transitioned from classical performance and negotiated Irish traditional music culture while playing a ‘non-traditional’ instrument. The musical and embodied knowledge gained enabled a deeper engagement with musicians’ experiences during fieldwork, allowing an exchange that went beyond verbal communication alone. Thus, in fusing creative practice and the traditional interview format I demonstrate that experiential and embodied knowledge deepens our understanding of how cellists transition from classical to Irish traditional music and how they negotiate and embody a new musical culture.

Keywords

Creative Practice; Embodied Knowledge; Irish Traditional Music; Cello, Auto-ethnography; Ethnomusicology

Author contact: 116221206 [at] umail.ucc.ie

Citation: Streit, K., 2019. “Knowing by Doing: Connecting to the Field in Irish Music through Creative Practice on the Cello”, Irish Journal of Anthropology, 22(1), 305-317.