Notes from the field: Þorbjörg Daphne Hall

A creative music workshop exploring the 'Icelandic' sound

A creative music workshop exploring the 'Icelandic' sound

Conducting fieldwork in a place in which you live has both its perks and perils as seemingly you have endless access to the field – but the risk is that everyday life takes over and the ‘academic’ data gathering keeps getting postponed. Luckily, my professional life is immersed in music which certainly helps understanding the field and I have relatively easy access to respondents. I would like to share two events which have been particularity fruitful for my research in the last few months.

Firstly, last summer I initiated creative music workshops to gather different data to the more ‘traditional’ ethnographic methods. Facilitators worked with different groups of people to discuss and create music which the participants felt contained some ‘Icelandic qualities’. Large quantity of data was gathered by recording all conversations, documenting the process of the workshop and the musical end-result consisted of four ‘Icelandic’ songs.

Secondly, last week I participated in a conference where I shared the results from the summer’s workshops and the facilitators explained the methodology and process in details. Then we had a performance from a composition student who had reworked the songs created in the workshops into an original composition. The whole session sparked intriguing questions and conversations which I am following up on in formal interviews. 

Daphne is conducting fieldwork in Reykjavík, Iceland as a part of her doctoral studies, which focus on the notion of Icelandic sound in contemporary popular music in Iceland. She is a native Icelander and a lecturer at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.