RECONSTRUCTING AN EXTINCT MUSICAL STYLE : PLAUSIBILITY vs. CERTITUDES, EXPERTISE vs. ASSUMPTIONS, ILLUSION vs. GUARANTY. A CULTURAL SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE.
When a style of music becomes extinct, its cycles of transmission breaking down and slowly its institutions and memories fading away, after several centuries, the availability of documents and objects (mute in their nature, alien in their culture) is all what’s left to us. Modern researchers and artists may try, from these documents, to reconstruct a musical style and its instruments.
Different epistemologies are generated, according to whether one uses solid scientific methods to explore the documents (organology, philology, musicology, etc…) or the more modern and more flexible (if not less strict) artistic research, research by practice etc. These epistemologies are not comparable, and not equal in their scientific articulation, and harmonising the musical and scientific aspects is never something that goes very smoothly.
Using the precise exemple of the Ancient Irish Harp, I propose, as a semiologue and specialist of cultural science (PhD candidate, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté) to explore and question these thematics, proposing several points of view and tentatively, humbly and timidly, I will propose new ways to think of historical musical research.