Lost in transcription
MOT 37 cover

Hvordan referere

Boksasp, U. (2023). Lost in transcription: Transkripsjonspraksis av den vokale folkemusikken for bruk innan dokumentasjon, forsking og opplæring. Musikk Og Tradisjon, 37. https://doi.org/10.52145/mot.v37i.2252


This article focuses on the transcription of vocal folk music in Norway, and furthermore on how such transcriptions are used and interpreted. It could be stated that notation, as we know it today, is not fully feasible for use in folk music. Nevertheless, this is today the most common and widespread written notation method both for documentation, research and training in folk music. The article asks whether today’s notation is an adequate model for transcribing folk songs, and further what consequences it may have for the genre if the transcriptions do not render a sufficiently nuanced picture of the sounding material. The analyses are based on an empirical material taken from a review of eleven sheet music samples, with vocal transcriptions from the last forty years. In addition, they build on an overall study of the tradition for writing down folk music in general, and discussions related to this. The study shows that the vocal collections are largely characterized by simplified transcriptions, with few genre-­specific features noted in the transcriptions. Through various findings, a need is outlined to develop the written language in order to better adapt the transcriptions to the expression of the genre. Through linguistic and sociological theories, the topic is discussed with a focus on different power perspectives.

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Opphavsrett 2023 Unni Boksasp