Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Nylon, Nails And Playing It Again: Insider Dynamics In A Classical Guitar University Program

The Western art music ("classical") guitar tradition flourished in Europe during the mid nineteenth century. Guitarists like Andrés Segovia contributed to a revived interest in the tradition in the early twentieth century and stimulated its assimilation into the modern concert hall and the university. Historical musicologists have paid increasing attention in the last forty years to art music written for the guitar, coinciding with the resurfacing of past works. Although previous ethnomusicological studies have considered the guitar's role in different world music traditions, this thesis constitutes a first approach towards the classical guitar through an ethnomusicological framework.

In the present document I explore the insider and outsider dynamic in an American university as seen through case histories of four doctoral students at The Florida State University guitar program. Previous scholars have debated the insider/outsider dynamic primarily by considering the researcher's level of insidership in a researched population. I problematize the insider dynamic by focusing upon the experiences of informants who were born outside of the U.S., and who are either permanent U.S. residents or international students. By superimposing the exploration of insidership in the FSU guitar cultural cohort to that of being a foreign-born/international student, I set this study as a counterpoint that contemplates the tenuous nature of being an insider/outsider.

I contend that shared habits constitue insidership in the cohort regardless of the member's national origin and immigration status in the U.S. I support this argument by considering the past and present habitus of four members (born in Britain, Canada, Belgium, and Romania). Moreover, my informants' musical experiences also inform how the insider/outsider dynamic operates in areas such as immigration, international study, and familial relationships.

I conducted my ethnographic research considering Tim Rice's model of time, place, and metaphor (Rice 2003). I use Rice's framework to create a narrative that accounts for each informant's past and present experiences; each of the four main chapters is devoted to one musician. Having been a member of the cohort myself during the years 2005-2011, I include my own experiences and shared moments with my informants-colleagues and our professor, Bruce Holzman, within the text.

Besides contributing to the discussion of insider/outsider dynamics, the present document also forms part of the relatively recent wave of ethnomusicological studies of Western musical institutions by Western musicians ("at home"). My study is informed by the sensitivities of those who are both "at home" in their musical tradition and, to varying extents, away from their "home" country of origin. I hope this study will also illuminate some of the different practices and dispositions found in one of the country's most renowned classical guitar university programs.

Nylon, Nails And Playing It Again: Insider Dynamics In A Classical Guitar University Program


Gallardo, Gonzalo, "Nylon, Nails And Playing It Again: Insider Dynamics In A Classical Guitar University Program" (2012). Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations. Paper 5355.

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