Home » Uncategorized » On the role of intuition (revised!), judgment, ethnography and other forms of field research

On the role of intuition (revised!), judgment, ethnography and other forms of field research

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  • Chuck Berry -curating sounds and memories March 20, 2017
    Update: (okay, it took less than a couple of hours to get to this, but you knew I would). I have to include this wonderful retrospective by Peter Guralnick about his interview with Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Fats Domino in New Orleans in 2011. (You think of trying to interview them as … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl
  • Total randomness – how else to deal with this year’s Oscars? February 28, 2017
    I’m a fairly rabid reader of The New Yorker, for what it’s worth. And today’s article on the glitch in the Best Picture Awards at the Oscars this year struck me as one of those moments where we create our own soundtrack. Since I’ve been posting on this blog more regularly lately, I thought I’d share … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl
  • RIP Clyde Stubblefield February 21, 2017
    There are far too many losses to the music world, this year, and every year – maybe last year just sensitized me to it or maybe we’re getting to that generational shift? Either way, today I’m sharing the soundtrack that’s guiding my morning and a brief obit from Digital Music News. Let the Funky Drummer … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl
  • Remembering Al Jarreau February 13, 2017
    Just a quick post today. Al Jarreau was one of the voices of my childhood and teen years – one of the happy, beautiful voices that countermanded all the emotional art rock I consumed at the same time. This tribute was put together by Wisconsin Public Radio – there’s a request by his family to … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl
  • Thinking about protest music, the Women’s March, and Joan Baez February 7, 2017
    Rolling Stone published an interview with Joan Baez yesterday about the Women’s March and protest music. While I strongly recommend reading it, there are a couple of highlights I’m thinking about. There’s a lack of music as a positive, uplifting (Baez’s word) force right now – protests are focused on anger. This movement needs an … Continue reading → […]
    ethnopopgirl
  • On protest music in the current age 1.28.17 January 28, 2017
    I’ve renewed an old research interest – protest music. Not terribly a shocking interest for an ethnomusicologist in the crazy times we’re seeing, but it’s been a recurring theme in my toolkit of research subjects. John Mellencamp (whose work I don’t normally look at) just released a really interesting song that takes on inequality, protest … Continue reading […]
    ethnopopgirl
  • Mourning 2016 Musicians – Glenn Frey January 18, 2017
    This is just a brief post but I anticipate more of these to follow – every one of the artists I miss deserves a post of his/her own. So I’m still not over last year’s losses. And by that I mean the musicians lost to the world when they died last year. For me this … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl
  • A guest blog from my new housemates August 5, 2016
    I broke down this week and did something I avoid – I went to the local animal shelter (because I can’t go without bringing home new friends). Even worse, I went into the kitten room and was immediately accosted by two small feline persons who informed me in no uncertain terms that I was taking … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl
  • Re-investigating home base May 20, 2016
    For those of you who do not know me in “real” life, I was trained as an art music musician (what most folks call classical music, which I have issues with, which will likely be the topic of another post on another day…). Recently, as in about three weeks ago, I took a new job … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl
  • Kesha, the American Pop Music Industry, and Cultures of Production February 26, 2016
    So this the the world I study, folks. The ways that the music recording industry interacts with performers, and in particular how these two parts of the music world intersect with how music gets made. I encourage you to pay attention to the Kesha/Sony case, not the least of which because it’s another example of … Continue reading →
    ethnopopgirl

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This is a blog post riffing off of the Brain Pickings, a site that, lamentably, I just recently discovered, and a particular article (link here: The Art of Observation and How to Master the Crucial Difference Between Observation and Intuition | Brain Pickings ) that I read last night while sitting delayed at Newark Airport waiting to get on a plane and fly across the Pond. Wonderful stuff, particularly when a long flight delay requires a diversion for my overactive brain.

So here’s a share that’s all about the science and art of intuition and (to me consequently!) fieldwork of the ethnographic variety. I really believe that without trained observation and a bit of intuition, there is no way to do fieldwork that has a point. That point needs to be, what is it that ethnographic research can help illuminate that other types of qualitative research can’t? I’m giving a paper this coming Saturday where one of my main concerns is what ethnomusicologists can co tribute to the study of popular music that is not, or cannot, be done by other new media, popular music, or sociological researchers.

As per usual, I will be revising my paper as long as possible. (Some things, I think, will *never* change!) I have been thinking about this question which got into my abstract somehow (I know. WHAT was I thinking!) a lot over the past few weeks and I suspect my answer will somehow boil down to two points – context and enough imaginative visualization that other people can make use of what we find in a practical way. More clearly, it’s one thing to have statistics on how common using crowd funding has become over the past 3-4 years. It’s a completely different matter to demonstrate how working pop musicians are incorporating the technologies of social media as working business entrepreneurs.

The change in mindset is pretty daunting but I think this is the ultimate implication of both why we are spending so much time, collectively, talking about this and why we understand at an intuitive level that this is important.So this was going to be just me doing the unusual move of posting a link to someone else’s blog, but it’s both, IMHO both interesting enough and important enough to get an explanation.Cheers and wish me some solid sleep on the plane. And if you’re interested, look for my abstract and paper for ICTM-Ireland and BFE on 6th April.

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