Filming a vocal contest in context: A case study on a form of extemporary sung poetry in Tuscany (Italy)

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D'Amico, Leonardo
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Zhejiang University Press
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The contrasto is a traditional performance practice widespread in some rural villages of Maremma, southern Tuscany, Italy. It consists of a vocal challenge between two or more traditional extemporary singer-poets called poeti in ottava rima. The contrasto was traditionally performed in informal convivial gatherings a tavolino (at the table) in peasant societies, but in the last decades it has become a theatrical performance in which the poeti increasingly perform sul palco (on stage) in front of an audience, in planned festivals. My paper is intended to highlight the relevance of the visual dimension in a vocal extemporary performance whose codes are orally-aurally-visually transmitted, in which the interaction between the extemporary poets and the audience tend to condition, influence and sometimes determine, the development of the performance. In such a case, the audiovisual recording becomes an essential research tool allowing to "catch" the visual dimension of this context sensitive performance in its multidimensionality and with all contextual dynamics that it implies.
Audiovisual ethnomusicology , Extemporary poetry , Audiovisual ethnomusicology , Performance practice , Research film , Tuscany, Italy , Ethnomusicology , Filming music
D'Amico, L. (2018) 'Filming a Vocal Contest in Context: A Case Study on a Form of Extemporary Sung Poetry in Tuscany (Italy)', in Hui, Y., D'Amico, L. and Defrance, Y. (eds). Ethnomusicology in Audiovisual Time, Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press, pp. 22-37. isbn:978-7-308-18210-2