The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

Mrs Celia Pendlebury wrote a MPhil dissertation (University of Sheffield, department of music, 2015) entitled “Jigs, Reels and Hornpipes. A History of « Traditional » Dance Tunes of Britain and Ireland”.
Here is the link : http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/8262/

Some of you may be interested in reading it.
But the most interesting point for us is that in her dissertation, Mrs Pendlebury uses several times The Session as a reference.
Does it mean that The Session is getting regarded as a source of information by/for the scientific community ? I do think so.
Whatever the answer is, well done, Jeremy and all those who take part in The Session.
Let’s notice that Mrs Pendlebury seems to confuse a “printed tune-book” and our tune-books (on The Session) : “In researching my tune histories, I noticed that tunes are constantly being re-printed in ever more tune-books whose numbers have been proliferating over the last thirty years. According to the website https://thesession.org/, “Hunt the Squirrel”, which I showed in chapter 1 to have dated from 1709, has been included in thirty-one tune-books.” (p. 48). Hm, hm …
It doesn’t mean that this work isn’t interesting. Mrs Pendlebury also talks about music sessions, about how musicians perform music at sessions, etc.
This dissertation is not the first one about trad music, but they are only a few ones, up to now. There is even a doctoral thesis (1996) on the "Irish musical Identity" written … in French by Erick Falc’her-Poyroux (http://www.falcher-poyroux.info/mti/).
Very interesting things to read.
In the future, can we expect a doctoral thesis in musicology or music sociology about the role of The Session ?

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Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

What do you think about this ?

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Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

Has she read the last few threads ?

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I’m talking about barred and comrades threads

Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

The Session really is a unique resource, of a musical community. There are a wide variety of instrumental specialists here with a depth of knowledge virtually unsurpassed on any other website. And the good news is that these musicians do not take themselves too seriously. But they indeed are serious musicians.

But for a university dissertation? Oh, my goodness, pass the hat, donations are more than welcome, please!

Contact Jeremy right here on this website and he will know what to do with any donations.

Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

"Does it mean that The Session is getting regarded as a source of information by/for the scientific community ?"

I hate to be pedantic (cough cough!), but a Masters of Philosophy isn’t science. But nit-picking apart, … given the title of Mrs. Pedlebury’s thesis, it isn’t at all surprising that she referenced ‘The Session’ a few times. It would, in fact be seen as academically very negligent if she didn’t.

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@ Gobby O’Gobbo

Yep! TheSession.org is a wonderful resource. Long may it last!

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Agreed!

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Let’s see if there’s a university that would give Jeremy an honorary Doctorate for his contribution. Its been done for less.
Dr Jeremy sounds good 🙂

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@ Donough

Yeah, given the amount of time, dedication and patience that it has taken and takes, Dr. Jeremy sounds right.

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Gobby - can’t you get an MPhil in science ? I think they are non-exclusive.
It all just goes to show how well-organised the data-base here on site is.
And long may he keep the trolls at bay.

Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

thesession.org also gets discussed in this paper:

http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/~axc/work/CSCW12.pdf

Published at the Computer-Supported Co-Operative Work conference in 2012. I wasn’t involved, but do work in the same research lab as the authors. There are a fair few trad musicians here!

Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

you know I like this site, I’ve gotten lots of good ideas and tips on a range of instruments….but to me, academic papers using Internet discussion forums as sources are dubious. I think it shows that todays young people don’t know how to write academic papers and that they are too lazy to do their research properly.

That’s where I stand. Now you kids get off my lawn or I’ll turn the hose on ye

Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

Well, it depends.

If the investigation is into the culture of traditional music making, then clearly digital resources are a part of that and worthy of investigation.

Anyone who tries to write a paper about the popularity of tunes using site statistics - agree, a proper hosing is required.

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@Nate. The author of the thesis says (on page 28):

"Certain discussion forums for folk music enthusiasts were also important sources although as their contents were unmoderated, all information obtained from them required verification by checking primary sources wherever possible. When I was unable to obtain this verification, I have made this clear."

Am not sure what relevance moderation is. The other two forums named are melodeon. net and mudcat which, I think, are moderated to some extent.

Missinterpreting "tune books" as used here isn’t really important, though unfortunate when one of her points relies on challenging what other authors had assumed was the meaning of a word in earlier writings.

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What I mean is that the Internet is a great place to get a superficial understanding of any topic, but it is a bad place to do real academic research. In my now controversial post, I implied that today’s youth "research" no further than the touch screen of their smart phone. You see, it is my opinion that young people have grown weak, and their spindly little arms can’t carry the piles of books back to their dorm room from the library to write a real paper anymore, and so they cite Wikipedia and some random discussion forums as thier academic references.

now please don’t let my dim view of the latest generation take anything away from my very high regard for The Session and the information posted here, by you lot, and skillfully managed by Dr Jeremy. It is nice to see the Mustard Board being cited by academic papers, even if the kids can’t manage to read actual books or interpret raw data sets anymore.

Now if you will excuse me, the school bus will be by shortly and I need to get out on the front porch to man the garden hose.

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@David50

I think the ‘moderation’ mentioned may allude to something more akin to fact checking and editing. Although there is good advice, and solid information regularly given here, that information can also be, and I’m not going to name names here, plain ol’ wrong. Not in the main, but in a significant lump of well meaning and enthusiastic responses to questions posed. I suppose I read stuff on here sometimes that make me wonder have the people posting just read about it in a book that was written by somebody who saw a session once, it’s that far from my experience of traditional music, musicians, and sessions. That experience would be years and years of playing both as an amateur, a professional, and now something in between, teaching, and visiting sessions up and down (or across and down,sometimes up a bit, for the pedantic). One of the reasons I don’t drop by much these days. It can get a little infuriating as a lurker. I don’t want to just come on threads, contradicting people. Who wants to be ‘that guy’? I absolutely wouldn’t cite thesessiondotorg as an academic source. I’m not sure I could point to it as representative of attitudes of traditional musicians here either. The site does come up in conversation from time to time. Feelings tend to be mixed. A handy repository of tunes and info about them. 10/10 for the database. Not so much for many of the discussions. Not the blind leading the blind. Not at all. But sometimes, the ‘my glasses are foggy’ leading the ‘I thought I saw something’.

Not a criticism, per se. More an observation. Take it or leave it, and make of it what you will. Absolutely no offence intended. I love the enthusiasm on here. I just don’t get some of the received wisdom that has been passed into scripture.

Also, oddly enough, given my post above, I have no time for ‘argument from authority’. I only know what I know. Maybe we’ve been doing it wrong over here all these years? I’m open to correction!

And no. My account wasn’t hacked by Llig, late of this parish!

🙂

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@Nate. Can I suggest that you look at the dissertation and see what the forums were used for rather than responding on the basis of what you think other people may have used them for ? I don’t think the author is a "kid".

@EnDaC. Yes, you may be right about the use of the word ‘moderation’ not being used in the sense of moderating a forum.

I found spending a few hours reading the dissertation a lot more thought provoking than spending the same time here. My guess is that the author has put several years of research into the ideas that she puts forward. She seems to be challenging several of the ‘big name’ writers in the field and has done a lot of reading.

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"Gobby - can’t you get an MPhil in science ? I think they are non-exclusive."….

I guess you can Pete- I’m not sure. The disciplines are certainly non-exclusive. Back when my brain functioned I did my PhD in Archaeology under the joint faculties of Arts and Science. But what I was getting at (and it isn’t important) is that if you write a philosophical dissertation it constitutes philosophy; not science. Even if you use some scientific methods, well, to put it as stated by one famous English archaeologist, ”using scientific method in archaeology no more makes you a scientist than it would make a man with a wooden leg into a kitchen table. Like I confessed earlier, my comment was needless pedantry. I couldn’t help myself because it was an argument I held for years (i.e., that archaeology isn’t a science). And don’t get me wrong;- philosophy is just as important as science, and they are indeed never mutually exclusive. I would find it hard to believe though, that the topic of Mrs. Pendlebury’s thesis could constitute a scientific study. Even if she did indeed employ some empirical methods, it is inescapably a humanities subject. But enough of my pedantry -it distracts from the thread.

My contributing point was that in this day and age of the internet, if you were doing an academic study involving traditional Irish (and related) music, it would be academically negligent not to reference this site. But let’s understand that I’m not suggesting that ‘The Session” should be taken as an Authority’ (as apparently misconstrued by EnDaC, above). Anybody who’s written a university thesis would know that it doesn’t work like that. Unqualified opinion must always be sorted from qualified opinion, and the writer’s judgement in that has to be well justified by reason and further reading. So I can only repeat my view that given the wealth of information contained within this site it would be very negligent to not reference it a few times in such a thesis. I’m sure you’d lose marks for such neglect!

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Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

MPhils are not primarily given for philosophy dissertations. The word philosophy in that title is a historical relic, in the same way that PhDs (e.g. Doctorates in Philosophy) are given for high-level research in almost every academic subject, not just philosophy. MPhils are research degrees, and frequently given to students who who for a variety of reasons are not going to complete their PhD study. They may then easily represent two years full-time work on a topic, and hence we would expect them to be thorough, detailed and interesting.

Re: The Session regarded as a source for a university dissertation

^Except in Cambridge, where nearly all 1-year postgraduate courses lead to an MPhil!