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Type: Thesis
Title: Across the Pacific: the transformation of the steel guitar from Hawaiian folk instrument to popular music mainstay.
Author: Cundell, Roger Guy Scott
Issue Date: 2014
School/Discipline: Elder Conservatorium of Music
Abstract: This project examines the transformation in the early 20th century of the steel guitar from a Hawaiian folk instrument to a mainstay of American popular music. The steel guitar – here characterised as a prepared instrument and a performance style whereby a guitar is positioned face up on the lap of a seated player who stops the strings by means of a steel bar – is a late 19th century Hawaiian adaption of the Spanish guitar. Its original role was that of a solo and accompanying instrument in the performance of Hawaiian music, which was itself an ethnic music tradition that had developed under American and European colonial influences. Once Hawaiian music was exposed to Western audiences in the early 20th century, its popularity grew rapidly and it evolved from an ethnic curiosity to a global popular music phenomenon. The steel guitar was at first synonymous with Hawaiian music, but just as the music became more global in its outreach, so too did the instrument itself. The steel guitar came to be gradually divorced from its original, ethnic Hawaiian context, and was incorporated steadily into a range of mainland American popular music stylings. This study examines the origins of the steel guitar, the evolution of early steel guitar style and the context in which the evolution occurred.
Advisor: Carroll, Mark Stephen
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.Phil.) -- University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, 2014
Keywords: guitar; steel guitar; hawaiian steel guitar; resonator guitar
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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