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Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:57:42 EDT by webmaster, 5365 views
American Hungarian Folklore Centrum, NJ
Music/Folklore paper by Olson, Judith E. (all papers)
Dancer or Musician: Contrasting Relationships to Improvisation, Rural and Urban
The process of transferring Hungarian music and dance from a rural setting to a new social context, that of the urban táncház or dance party (from 1972 to the present), has resulted in a new code of improvisation, different from that of the village people it is meant to closely emulate. In addition, while both táncház dancers and musicians hone close to their rural models, the differing social roles and responsibilities of dancers and musicians in the village suggest to táncház participants improvisational approaches that are similar, but freer in contrasting ways from their models.
Táncház dancers have imposed on themselves the directive to learn the improvisational rules of their village models and follow them, but also to not do anything they have not seen a village person do, whether live or on film, in the belief that only a person raised in a culture can authentically create new dance figures. Musical improvisation, while coming from the same impulse, stems from a difference in focus and source—musicians tend to be Roma/Gypsy, in the position of providing service music. They must structure the dance, play at the proper tempo with the right intensity, and give appropriate musical cues, but beyond this, both rural and táncház musicians tend to have more freedom in what they play.
This discussion will use recorded examples to illustrate, discuss, and contrast improvisational techniques for dancers and musicians, both in the village and in a táncház context.
Brief Professional Bio:
Judith E. Olson (M.Phil, NYU, M.M. University of Colorado) is an historical musicologist working in the area of traditional Hungarian music and dance in Romania, Hungary, and among Hungarians in the United States and Canada. She combines research in traditional settings, in Hungarian dance camps, and within revival groups with analysis and discussion of dance structure, process, and improvisation. She presents frequently at venues such as the International Council for Traditional Music, the International Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and AHEA. She performs this research and organizes táncház (dance parties) in New York City under the auspices of the American Hungarian Folklore Centrum. A secondary research area is 19th century German music and musical culture.