Accepted paper:

Cracking the code: rhythmic dwellings on tour and on stage


Anna Lisa Ramella (University of Cologne)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the significance of the musical performance for musicians on the move. Based on fieldwork on tour with rock bands, I will discuss practices that constitute a home on the road and consider the notion of rhythm as an overarching element of both, making music and traveling together.

Paper long abstract:

While rock and folk music have a longstanding history of traveling, latest developments in the digitization of music have increased the need to tour to make a living for most professional musicians. A music tour involves a rhythmic structuring of time and space not only on stage, but also throughout the long days of travel. Permanent dwelling in alternating environments challenges concepts of home or place, inscribing categories of stillness in the very experience of travel and movement. Particular "prescribed rhythms" (Edensor 2010) on tour ensure a smooth traveling experience while establishing the margins within which the musical performance can reach a flow. It is often the experience of making music that serves as a reference for social, spatial and temporal situations on tour and attributes meaning to both place and travel. Ruptures to either appear as arhythmic elements of an overall, collective rhythmic endeavor. The moment when all elements fall into place is often referred to by musicians as "cracking the code" - a condition in which a flow is achieved that transcends each practice performed on tour and on stage. In this paper, I will explore the aspects encountered in a mobile fieldwork on tour as well as in extensive interviews with musicians to consider the notions of rhythm and flow as connecting elements between the experiences of music and movement.

panel Body04
Dwelling in musical movement: making a home both in and through music