Ethnography of Performance Essay

Ethnography of Performance Essay

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Ethnography of Performance


During a musical performance many elements to be looked are not easily recognized by the average critic. A musical performance has multiple interactions taking place between the music, text, performers, audience, and space that all can contribute to a great performance. Overwhelming majority of the audience does not realize so much can be looked at during a single performance. At a performance by the University of Maryland Marching Band I was able to analyze the Musical Sound, Contexts of the Performance, and Interpretation of the Performance.
When analyzing musical sound there are many factors to pay attention to during the performance. Important things to listen for are the pitch, scale, timbre, tone quality, rhythm, melody, and form. While listening to the Marching Band the pitch of the performance varied. At some moments during the performance the pitch would sound low and that is when the bass instruments are heard. The pitch sounded high when the other instruments joined. Using a standard pitch enables a large number of instruments to be played together with out sounding out of tune. In many musical traditions people are not concerned with a standard pitch, and they tune instruments to sound well with other instruments for a specific occasion or even to suit the convenient level for a singer (Kaemmer:58). A pitch also contains intervals, which refers to the difference between tones of two different pitches. An example would be the octave, it represents two tones the bands performance had an octave. The marching band used a chromatic scale because of all the instruments and in a chromatic scale there are twelve notes within an octave. This allows the other members of the band to join in the...


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... says something about the American culture towards marching bands.
The overall interpretation of the performance has a lot to do with examining the uses and functions music in the performance. During halftime the band is trying the lift the spirits of the crowd and team playing, but the result is at halftime everyone leaves. Whether or not the performance was great much of the audience will never know because they leave. For those who stayed and listened to the performance it was delightful and intriguing but others did not give the band a chance. The musical sound was there. The performance involvement was present for those who stayed and listened and the music was very easy to interpret.
The job of the marching band is to entertain the audience and they work hard to do so. The least the audience could do is stay and listen to their hard work during halftime.

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