Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

“Now, you are one of us” - participatory observation in the study of non-professional musical activities. A case study of Tuna Souselense.

Rui Filipe Duarte Marques


This article takes as its starting point a case study of Tuna Souselense, a musical group founded in 1910, the year of the implantation of the Republic in Portugal. This study comprised two complementary perspectives: a diachronic view, based on archival research and a synchronic one, sustained in fieldwork. The project’s implementation revealed a musical organization in which predominates a family-type organization, scarcely opened to the action of external researchers. Furthermore, an inexistent split between musicians and audience marks the activity carried out by this group. Nevertheless, this separation is staged in public events. These features raised challenges that could only be overcome through participant observation as a conductor and an instrumentalist, which allowed me to establish dialogical interactions with musicians and other community’s elements. How to study a musical field with such characteristics? How to understand the meanings attributed by these people to the act of making music together? What is its impact on the construction of individual and collective identities? These are the questions that guide my analysis.

Texto completo: PDF (English)