20.499 symphony rather than keyboard transcription?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 06:08:12 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 499.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 14:11:08 +0000
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: symphony rather than keyboard transcription?

In his introduction to "The audience as co-author", a special issue
of Text: An Introductory Journal for the Study of Discourse (6.3,
1986) -- read it tonight -- Alessandro Duranti (UCLA) concludes as
follows (pp. 244f):

>When we, as ethnographers, bring the interaction we recorded to the
>printed page, we engage in... [an] activity of recontextualization. That
>is inevitable. We set up a context for a new audience to judge and
>appreciate what went on around and through that text on some other
>occasion. Once we understand this, however, we do not come to the end of
>the process, we do not denounce the act of interpretation as impossible
>or inherently inadequate. We use the tools at our disposal (e.g.
>ethnography, analytical distinctions, linguistic analysis,
>cross-cultural comparison) to recreate, at a different level, a complex
>and diverse picture where the organized diversity of everyday talk is
>maintained and highlighted rather than translated into monological forms
>of communcation. In so doing, we must keep in mind Bakhtin's criticism
>of the inability of traditional stylistic analysis to appreciate the
>polyphonic nature of Dostoevsky's novels:
>>... [traditional] stylistic analysis is not oriented toward the novel as
>>a whole, but only toward one or another of its subordinated stylistic
>>unities. The traditional scholar bypasses the basic distinctive feature
>>of the novel as a genre; he substitutes for it another object of study,
>>and instead of novelistic style he actually analyzes something
>>completely different. He transposes a symphonic (orchestrated) theme on
>>to the piano keyboard. (Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, 1981: 263)

My question is this: in designing and building our new genres of
interpretation, how best can we use the digital medium to move from
the keyboard to the orchestra?


Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
Computing in the Humanities | King's College London |
Received on Thu Mar 08 2007 - 01:33:05 EST

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