Research Articles

A musicologist’s wishlist: some issues, practices and practicalities in musical aspects of language documentation

Author
  • Linda Barwick

Abstract

This paper summarises some of the issues that have arisen for me in my collaborations with linguists in documentation of song in Australian Aboriginal communities. It provides pointers for recording techniques and guidelines about some of the things that musicologists would like to know about musical performance, especially for musical traditions and practices transmitted orally within small language groups (as is typically the case for documentation of musical traditions in endangered languages). This paper, intended for an audience of linguists, approaches the question of musical documentation from the perspective of what is needed on a practical level in order for collaboration with a musicologist to be most fruitful. Of course, linguists have their own priorities and methodologies in documentation of endangered languages, but many find themselves recording song and instrumental music as part of a broadly-based linguistic documentation project. Recognising that research funding often precludes having a musicologist tag along in the original fieldwork, this paper provides a checklist of things that I would like linguistic researchers to record if the opportunity arises to collect songs or instrumental music while you are doing non-musicological fieldwork, especially if you would like a musicologist to help document your recordings at a later...

Keywords: language documentation, musical documentation, recording techniques, guidelines, oral tradition, endangered languages, fieldwork

How to Cite:

Barwick, L., (2014) “A musicologist’s wishlist: some issues, practices and practicalities in musical aspects of language documentation”, Language Documentation and Description 3, 53-62. doi: https://doi.org/10.25894/ldd275

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Published on
31 Jul 2014
Peer Reviewed