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.
Vincent Laine is a half Breton and half Scottish musician and dancer, now living in Finland. As a professional artist, Vincent plays the Gaelic wire strung-harp. He has studied archaic wire-strung harp techniques for many years, as well as the historical documents connected to ancient Gaelic harps. In 2020 he started as PhD candidate at the DTEPS – ELLIADD laboratory, University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté, with ancient Gaelic harp as the object of his doctoral studies.
At previous Nordic Harp Meetings, Vincent taught the following workshops:
- Wire-strung harp techniques: coupled hands and gracing.
- Introduction to Ceol Mòr , the great music of Scottish clans.
- Relationship between dance and music, exemplified in the gavotte bigoudenn.
- Utilitarian music (music for working) from the Scottish Hebrides
- Scottish highland dancing
- Folk dance workshop
- Breton dance music from Bro Wened: En dro and laridenn