Prof Tobias Pontara (head supervisor)
Prof Emeritus Karl-Olof Edström
Dr Karin Larsson Eriksson
Although music theory has not been a very central theme in recent folk music scholarship in Sweden, some music-theoretical subjects have had a certain significance in folk music education and musical production. In particular, the idea that older or indigenous layers of the repertoire are characterised by “older tonality”, or modality, has been able to inform performance and composition. Although ideas on mode in relation to Swedish folk music are not uniform, the application of modal terminology tends to assume a stable concept of mode, as in the binary opposition between modality and tonality.
This study seeks to de-naturalise the concept of mode in the context of Swedish folk music. It aims to do so by tracing and analysing the development of different notions of modality since the very beginning of music-theoretical discussion of Swedish folk music in the early 19th century and onwards. It offers a close reading of each of these ideas in light of its contemporaneous music-theoretical premises, focusing on the music-theoretical assumptions each concept conveys, and on its relation to the existing musical practice. It then proposes to look at modality in Swedish folk music as a construct rather than as acoustic or compositional property. Modality is then discussed as an open concept, emphasising its aspects of emergence and acquiring of cultural value, and reflecting on its regulative force within musical production.
The seminar will be held in English / Swenglish.