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“Do You Know …?”The Jazz Repertoire in Action$
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Robert R. Faulkner and Howard S. Becker

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226239217

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226239224.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 09 April 2020

Playing the Repertoire Game

Playing the Repertoire Game

What We Wanted to Know and How We Learned to Ask a Better Question

(p.183) 9 Playing the Repertoire Game
“Do You Know …?”
University of Chicago Press

This book wanted to understand how musicians who work ordinary jobs in bars and at parties—in other words, jobs where they find that they have to play a variety of music, which they cannot always fully anticipate—can play together with little or no rehearsal, and with a minimum of written music to guide them. How could players create a performance since they could not rely on everyone knowing a shared repertoire? This chapter focused on the continuous process of mutual adjustment through which partial knowledge is shared on the fly and combined, step by step, to produce a performance that is good enough for the occasion and its participants. Like every other kind of activity people undertake together, what jazz musicians do is neither random and disjointed nor totally fixed and predictable. Because sociology is, after all, a generalizing business, what you learn in one place—what we learned about musicians—should, in principle and in fact, illuminate other areas of collective action, other places where people do things together.

Keywords:   musicians, music, repertoire, mutual adjustment, knowledge, performance, collective action

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