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Program for the Street Music and Narrative Traditions Conference Now Out

Tuesday, May 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jesse A. Fivecoate
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Street Music and Narrative Traditions

 International Conference of The Kommission für Volksdichtung

Palermo, May 22 - 26, 2017

“Street music” refers to a multitude of event typologies evolving in time. During the Middle Ages, musicians and singers participated in forms of popular drama and began to formulate styles and techniques of performance in part derived from the ancient tradition of aoidoi and rhapsodes, persisting through adapted forms, instruments, and themes proper to the times.  The use of stringed instruments to accompany song may be considered a constant feature over the centuries.  Only toward the end of the 19th Century do itinerant singers introduce button accordions and accordions. Other elements which contributed to the evolution of street performed narrative song are the introduction of printed song sheets, enhancing income through the market sale of broadsides and chapbooks reproducing song texts, and later by the invention of systems of sound reproduction which represented for street performers or cantastorie (song singers) an added means of income via the sale of vinyl discs, audiocassettes, and compact discs. Other forms of narrative street music regard songs and dances which in various regions persist on the occasion of religious celebration, Carnival, or seasonal ritual (i.e., New Year, May Day)—thus delineating a repertoire of dramatized musical forms embracing song, instrumental music, and recitation. Correlating with such themes are social and political actions where song and sound provide a primary function on symbolic and communal planes. And increasingly today musicians, singers, and performers in general, are assured a means of communication with their audiences and heighened impact thanks to the “virtual public square” of social networks. In such a perspective “street music” may refer to a rich and varied range of historical and contemporary forms that will be investigated throughout the Conference.

Conference’s scientific committee: Sergio Bonanzinga (University of Palermo); Luisa Del Giudice (Independent scholar, Los Angeles), Thomas A. McKean (President of the The Kommission für Volksdichtung, Director of the Elphinstone Institute, Aberdeen); Rosario Perricone (Director International Puppet Museum “Antonio Pasqualino”,  President of the Association for the Conservation of Folk Traditions, Palermo).

To view and download the full schedule, visit   

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