Bush dance music in Tasmania: a recent social and cultural history of live music played for dancing
AuthorHillenius, Sytske Rosanne
AffiliationMelbourne Conservatorium of Music
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2014 Sytske Rosanne Hillenius
In Tasmania, Bush Dance is a strong tradition of community social dance featuring live music and a dance caller. Although clearly rooted in the musical heritage of the Celtic diaspora, in recent years many of these dances have increasingly incorporated tunes and dances unique to the island. This thesis examines the recent social and cultural history of Bush Dance Music in Tasmania. It describes the catalysts behind the current movement among Tasmanian musicians who perform tunes drawn from collected Tasmanian Heritage repertoire and expand the performance tradition with newly written tunes. This research is based upon ethnomusicological fieldwork conducted in Tasmania between November 2012 and March 2013. Case studies of the Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble and the Primary School Dance Program illustrate how this tradition is intrinsically linked to concepts of Tasmanian identity. The makeup of a dance band and the unique nature of the Bush Dance Music community is explored through interviews with musicians, dancers and dance callers. This thesis also explores the research by local musicians and their recent small-scale publications of tunes and dances found in historical sources and rural communities throughout Tasmania that has prompted a new Heritage Music and Dance movement within the Bush Dance scene. This thesis fills a gap in the literature and advances the knowledge of Bush Dance Music in Tasmania.
Keywordsbush dance; Tasmania; Tasmanian; Huon; Cygnet; Longford; Buttongrass Ball; Collywobblers; folk festival; David Wanless; Cathy Hutchinson; Steve Ray; Julie Edwards; Peter Ellis; Heritage Fiddles Fred Pribec; Steve Gadd; Marjorie Gadd; Stuart Graham; Apple Shed Dance; Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble; Fiddle; primary school dance program; Windjammer; Folk Federation of Tasmania
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