Playing in the field: participant observation and the investigation of intersubjective knowledge in jazz improvisation
AbstractThis paper investigates the use of intersubjective knowledge in the production of improvised jazz performance. I describe an approach to participant observation in which recordings of the researcher and research participants improvising musical performances together were used as 'texts' for framing discussions. A key methodological challenge in this investigation involved encouraging informants to provide sufficiently detailed verbal accounts of their common-sense knowledge. Through using these musical texts, the informants were able to provide a contextually rich commentary; in this way, our 'play' became a topic of conversation which shed light on the very practices I was interested in researching.