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Steel Drums in the Steel City: Performance Practices Among Steel Drum Musicians in Pittsburgh

Bona, Lisa M. (2010) Steel Drums in the Steel City: Performance Practices Among Steel Drum Musicians in Pittsburgh. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The steel drum bears an indexical relationship to notions of 'Caribbean identity' that correspond with fun, sun, and relaxation. These associations grow out of media representations in film, music, and the American tourist industries. Musicians in Pittsburgh and elsewhere around the world, however, use the steel drum in their own ways, expanding the types of music the steel drum is heard playing. While some still choose to use the steel drum, or steel pan as it is also known, in what is perceived as authentic Caribbean steelband music, others have found ways of incorporating it into a variety of musical genres such as jazz fusion. Music venues, audience perceptions, and performance opportunities determine the ways the steel drum is played and expressed in old and new forms. As the home of steel pan makers and many steel pan musicians, Pittsburgh plays a significant role in these exchanges. Ethnographic material from the Steel City reveals that expectations of authenticity influence the reception of steel pan music. World music education curriculums and multicultural programming in the region shape the instrument's identity as well. This thesis analyzes the complex ways the steel drum is imbued with notions of "Caribbeanness" and how musicians perform on this instrument within and beyond these cultural parameters.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bona, Lisa
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHelbig, Adrianaanh59@pitt.eduANH59
Committee MemberWeintraub, Andrew Nanwein@pitt.eduANWEIN
Committee MemberCassaro, James Pcassaro@pitt.eduCASSARO
Date: 25 January 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 14 September 2009
Approval Date: 25 January 2010
Submission Date: 1 December 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: pan; steel pans
Other ID:, etd-12012009-171943
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:07
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:52


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