‘The Orality of a Silent Age: The Place of Orality in Medieval Studies’ uses a brief survey of current work on Old English poetry as the point of departure for arguing that although useful, the concepts of orality and literacy have, in medieval studies, been extended further beyond their literal referents of spoken and written communication than is heuristically useful. Recent emphasis on literate methods and contexts for the writing of our surviving Anglo-Saxon poetry, in contradistinction to the previous emphasis on oral ones, provides the basis for this criticism. Despite a significant amount of revisionist work, the concept of orality remains something of a vortex into which a range of only party related issues have been sucked: authorial originality/communal property; impromptu composition/meditated composition; authorial and audience alienation/immediacy. The relevance of orality to these issues is not in dispute; the problem is that they do not vary along specifically oral/literate axes. The article suggests that this is symptomatic of a wider modernist discourse in medieval studies whereby modern, literate society is (implicitly) contrasted with medieval, oral society: the extension of the orality/literacy axis beyond its literal reference has to some extent facilitated the perpetuation of an earlier contrast between primitivity and modernity which deserves still to be questioned and disputed. Pruning back our conceptions of the oral and the literate to their stricter denotations, we might hope to see more clearly what areas of medieval studies would benefit from alternative interpretations.
History 650: Oral History Theory and Methods. Spring 2019.
Syllabus for a graduate (M.A.) class on the methods of oral history.
This chapter examines the impact of a putative oral Homer upon the work of recent performance-makers. The influence of oral-poetic theories is (as yet) an under-explored area of study, neglected by scholars whose literary expertise leads them to focus on dramatic texts and production histories, with each revisionary text or production regarded as a single, stable, and repeatable entity. The field of classical reception studies at present lacks the conceptual and theoretical means to engage effectively with works which deliberately exploit elements of ‘in-performance’ composition, and which positively value the qualities of fluidity and flexibility evoked by oral-poetic interpretations of ancient epic. However, the present work contends that a notional oral Homer informs a diverse array of contemporary theatre texts and performance practices, and that a full appreciation of the different ways in which oral-poetic theory can influence the creation of these depends upon an ability to identify and interpret the interplay between ‘fixed’ and ‘unfixed’ elements both within particular performances, and within different iterations of the same production or event. Kate Tempest’s performance-poem Brand New Ancients is analysed as a striking recent example of creative interplay between such ‘fixed’ and ‘unfixed’ elements.
Coloniality is a complex heritage encapsulating complex cultural challenges confronting the performance artist. Nigerian musical production appears to have been operating in a world without borders since the advent of colonialism. There have been non-indigenous forms brought into the cultural landscape which have challenged the performers. The performers have had to respond in a variety of ways but one dominant form of artistic response has been the adaptation and utilization of non-indigenous musical styles to create hybrid musical products and performances stabilized with indigenous elements. The efforts of Akande Abolore aka 9ice in this regard has become significant in that he has brought into what he calls afro hip-hop the copious use of oral resources. He builds his musical style on orality, combining oral elements with oral sensibilities from his indigenous Yoruba language to forge a new form in which there is an interaction of codes, forms and levels of creative expression. He is thereby concretising a norm in Nigerian musical performance in which indigenous elements dominate western ones and in which Nigerian music speaks to the world in her own terms. Keywords: post-coloniality, orality, musical performance, oral forms, call and response
Realizamos en este trabajo un análisis de los elementos orales de un poema épico francés, el cantar de gesta anónimo ‘Le Bâtard de Bouillon’ (siglo XIV), obra perteneciente al Segundo Ciclo de las Cruzadas. El método de análisis se basa en la teoría del formulismo oral expuesta por Jean Rychner en ‘La Chanson de Geste’. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ English abstract: This is an analysis of oral elements in the anonymous French medieval epic poem ‘Le Bâtard de Bouillon’ (14th century), a work belonging to the Second Cycle of the Crusades. The method of analysis is based on Jean Rychner’s theory of formulaic orality as expounded in ‘La Chanson de Geste’.
To support the development of a comprehensive strategic plan to create the Academy Motion Picture Oral History Digital Archive, the first industry-wide collection of motion picture-related oral and visual histories. With interviews recorded in 1947 through the present, the Archive will bring together the oral and visual history collections of a founding consortium of the Academy, Art Directors Guild, Film Music Foundation, International Cinematographers Guild, Motion Picture Editors Guild, Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), and Writers Guild Foundation.
Text of 15-minutes talk given at the CILIP Local Studies Group Conference 2018: Oral history and sound heritage. It briefly presents my Library Science master’s dissertation, ‘”The public libraries of London” collection: oral history in the digital age’, which can also be found in CORE.
This thesis re-situates sampling and the mashup in a broader tradition of musical borrowing and oral practice. Musical creators in the West borrowed throughout history; the variety and quantity of this borrowing remains dependent on the proprietary status of music. Copyright was first applied to music to protect printed scores, and is thus ill equipped to accommodate works that borrow recorded elements. Taking Ong’s concept of “secondary orality” as applied to hip hop by Tricia Rose, this thesis connects techniques of musical borrowing in the Middle Ages with those in the late-20th and 21st centuries through several close readings of representative works. By necessity, these orally circulating works are shared within a knowing community, one that understands the references and values continuing dialogue more than the contributions of individuals. Finally, this thesis makes recommendations for copyright reform, seeking to ensure that music with borrowed parts can continue to circulate in both commercial and non-commercial spheres.