The Real Realization of Music-Ritual: Local, Not-Local, and Localized

Finnegan, Ruth (2018). The Real Realization of Music-Ritual: Local, Not-Local, and Localized. In: Reily, Suzel A. and Brucher, Katherine eds. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Local Musicking. New York: Routledge, pp. 487–498.


This paper considers the ritual and symbolic features of so-called local music by pointing to some familiar but often unrecognized aspects of how music is practiced, conceptualized and symbolized as “local” – especially as local ritual. It draws on the author’s own reflexive anthropology (focusing especially on her experience of musicking in her native city of Derry in Northern Ireland), comparative thinking and a range of ethnographic examples, chiefly drawn from her work on Milton Keynes, Fiji and the Limba-speaking people of Sierra Leone in the 1960s. The conclusion is that music is at once local and non-local and that the “local” is multifaceted and a matter of degree, not kind.

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