The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141650   Message #3262136
Posted By: Crowhugger
23-Nov-11 - 12:36 PM
Thread Name: Authenticity & Showmanship - Impossible?
Subject: RE: Authenticity & Showmanship - Impossible?
I can't tell quite what the OP means by authenticity and showmanship and I expect each poster has their own definitions of what those are. Showmanship has an broad range of what could be counted as such. As far as I can tell there are 2 equally valid kinds of authenticity: Source and finder, with a range as great as the overlap between the two.

Source example 1, you and your ancestors from Cape Breton play/played music in your kitchen, same stuff as played by your ancestors in that very kitchen and back in Scotland. Sometimes you go play at various social events but more often the event is the kitchen party or moved out to the barn for a special occasion. Someone sticks a microphone in front of you, whether or not you can tune your instrument accurately, whether or not you sing in tune with the instruments. Or maybe you head into your home recording studio and make a CD.

Source example 2, you're on staff at the palace writing music you then also conduct (and/or maybe you play in the ensemble) to entertain a hundred or two of the king's closest friends. Hmm, not such a common thing in the days since recording was invented so it's hard to continue the analogy of someone sticking a microphone in front of you...so nowadays the source is paper.

Finder: you hear music that speaks to you, music born of a life you do not yourself lead. You learn to play it, for others and/or for yourself, whether or not you can tune your instrument accurately, whether or not you can make the lyrics understood at 20 paces. Doing it as a preservationist or as an entertainer or as a pedagogue or you-name-it is unrelated to authenticity because the music speaks to you, that's why you bother to learn it. Unless it was for the big bucks and the ease with which a flush living can be made...

OP, what do you mean by 'authenticity,' what do you include in & exclude from 'showmanship'? What do you expect of a preservationist, that their work be as stiff as papier maché figures in a 1960s museum so as to preserve with tainting by newer influences (except the papier maché and the paint and the labels), or superficially real as modern wax figures are compared to life, or that it reflect the life of the performer, as music always does?

If you were to ask me if "entertaining preservationist" is an oxymoron, I'd say no. And yes. Depending.