英日対訳:The Northen Fiddler 北の大地のフィドラー達('79/'85) 第6回 1部(2/4) 伝承文化の本質と取材体制




London / New York / Sydney / Cologne 











The collector enters into the traditional culture in search of facts and documentation, while in their turn the participants of a traditional society are more concerned with symbolic exchange and initiation rituals. In a traditional culture the process of ritual exchange that is necessary to interpersonal encounters is of more concern than what is actually exchanged. For the men we recorded, the sociality of the moment created by a music session is of the same value as the actual music played, and certainly of greater value than the music recorded. This conflict of intentions, if unrecognised, inevitably leads to mutual misperceptions. As a consequence, throughout our journey we were pursued by a sense of vampirism. We resisted transforming friendships into documents. Eventually our ambivalence produced a crisis of method and motive that we found difficult to resolve.  



Once at a session we had arranged, an aged fiddler of frail health and great skill and knowledge collapsed in his chair from the effect of too much drink supplied by a neighbor. One moment he was capering a light dance step, the next moment he sagged like the bellows of an accordion with a look of immense weariness on his face. For an instant we thought him dead. As he was given food and tea, another neighbor put on a loud chaffing record of a modern 'pop'-oriented fiddler to cover the absence of music. He was being polite, but we experienced the scene as a nightmare metaphor for the contemporary predicament of traditional music: the living reality replaced by a creation of the media. We had seen the life go out of a great musician, glimpsed his death, and the same thought eats away at both our minds. We ask ourselves if our presence here is the last stage in the final draining away of the tradition. For the first time it comes to us that there is an intimate association between collecting and death. We have deluded ourselves that we are fighting death, but instead we are documenting it. We are the pall-bearers at a funeral of a man, a music, an entire world. The photographer caps his lens, the tape machine is disconnected, and we leave shaking and guilty ...  



On another occasion we returned to a house where we had gathered a great deal of music. We returned to play back tapes and show the fiddlers the photographs that had been taken. In the midst of our display of the material gathered in our previous visit, the mood of the fiddlers turned sullen and withdrawn; they showed no further interest in the photos or in listening to the recordings of their music. Their usual good humor returned when we persuaded them to take up their fiddles. It was only as we drove away that we realised how our technology had betrayed us. For it was through our technology - the cameras and tape machines - that we flooded these fiddlers with too much personal feedback. 





Oral cultures have never developed the same capacity for self-dissection and information retrieval that our society has. Instead they build holistic visions of the world and self where image and experience are intertwined. In many societies to separate image or sound from experience its context constitutes a violation of natural order . Probably if presented separately our photos and tapes would not threatened these men. Presented together they formed a synthesis, a technological reconstruction of the self, a travesty of real existence. We had returned to their house with a collation of abstractions and fragments that challenged the way they saw themselves and heard their music. 



Within oral cultures music is strongly connected with personal experience with a specific sense of time and place. Music always appears in context in relation to another experience, people and geographical locations. To separate music from its context is to separate it from its magical power to affect reality. Some American Indian tribes refuse to have their songs and chants taped, for they believe that to remove music from the place where it was composed and sung constitutes a loss of personal power; and draining away of the magic associated with the music. This belief is operative in some form or other in the majority of oral cultures and eventually determined our own approach to gathering music. 



The intensity and beauty of our encounters in Donegal and Tyrone with traditional musicians had such a vivid effect on us that we became afraid of the capacity our technology had to de-realize our experience, the power it possessed to come between ourselves and what we felt at the time of the session. Personal experience began to assume a primacy over documenting. We became caught between documenting and experiencing. This bifurcation of roles was not only the result of an ethical dilemma, but was inherent in the basic characteristics of traditional music itself, which is not essentially a performance medium, with a strict separation between artist and audience. In its original setting traditional music was a social art, where listeners or dancers and players created a single emotional space, a collective theater, completely inner-directed. This experience of a magic circle, a space separate from day to day reality, recurred in most of our sessions. To record or photograph in this situation implied a stepping out of this circle. To remove ourselves from the circle was to break a vital link between us and musicians who, because of years of musical isolation, required a high level of emotional response from the people they gave their music to. Interpersonal relationship became the nexus through which we gathered our material. When to turn the tape machine on became a moral as well as a strategic decision. Each tune recorded was the product of many that were not. 



We never resolved the conflict over our methodology, and we walked a fine line between two approaches. Aesthetically and ethically we had no choice. We were attempting to satisfy the value systems of two cultures. In South-west Donegal we found our own special myth, one that demonstrated the type of understanding the fiddlers possibly had of our journey. This story follows the patterns of many folk tales inasmuch as the moral is never fully demonstrated. 





Rumors have spread through the parish of a stranger who wanders the roads, knocking on the doors of any who have a reputation as a fiddler. Under his arm wrapped in a blanket he carries what he claims is a priceless fiddle. At each house he approaches the fiddler, asks the man to play his 'Stradivarius,' and solicits the fiddler's opinion of the instrument. The stranger himself denies any skill at music, which arouses the suspicion of the local people. After he hears each man to his satisfaction, he takes back the fiddle, wraps it in the blanket and proceeds down the road to the next musician. He finally arrives at the door of one of the finest fiddlers in the parish. This fiddler has heard of the stranger's pilgrimage and his dinial of musical skill. When offered the fiddle he carefully feels the strings, fingerboard and bowhair. He then asks the man if he plays himself. The stranger denies it. 'Well, I doubt that,' replies the fiddler, 'judging from the heat that is on the bow and strings I reckon it's been played within the last five minutes.' The stranger grabs the violin away from the fiddler at the same time saying, 'If you're that good I don't want to hear you!' and disappears down the road! 



The story's ending is flat, the value judgement is hidden and the tale's dryness has a didact effect. Within the value system of rural Donegal the stranger is spiritually sterile. He insists on a social relationship with the musicians. He exploits his ownership of a rare violin, the product of the skills and techniques of his own society, to obtain music from the local musicians. His identity seems not to be invested in his musical skill, which he lies about, but in his ownership of the instrument. He is incapable of music himself, or worse still of sharing it with others. In this context his nomadicism is judged as a symptom of spiritual unrest. 



This tale is a subtle and sophisticated social commentary, revealing many attitudes concerning the relationship between traditional music and the world external to the traditional society. For ourselves, the collectors, it raised spectres concerning our own roles and attitudes for which we tried to find alternatives, but from which we found there was no escape.