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TuneTracker: Tensions in the Surveillance of Traditional Music


Type: Paper
Time: Wed 07:50 pm - 09:10 pm
Location: Ballroom 1
Session: Social Interactions
Award: Nominee



Abstract

We describe the design and deployment of the first system ever to dynamically track and publish records of folk music playing. TuneTracker is a software system that has been, at time of writing, deployed at a pub in Dublin, Ireland for five months. It captures, stores, and posts the names of tunes played in Irish traditional music sessions on a public website. This paper makes two contributions: (1) drawing from a two year ethnographic study of trad musicians, it details the design and development of a system to track and publish traditional musiciansÕ practices while respecting the ethos of tradition, and (2) it presents a discussion of professional musiciansÕ reactions to having their music practices surveilled. This latter fieldwork revealed divergent viewpoints on the effect that TuneTracker would have on local sessions and the process of tradition.