Texas Exceptionalism and Texas Style Fiddling: Fiddle Contests, Patriarchs, and Musical Markers
The phrase “Texas Fiddle Player” indicates a unique musical identity within the Greater North American Fiddling community. Beyond fiddle tunes, fiddling culture involves technical diversity, interpersonal relationships, various performance contexts, teaching and learning, and the stories making up a community’s collective memory. The Texas Fiddle Player identity is the result of a process of connecting these aspects of fiddling culture to symbols and narratives that evoke a specific kind of “Texan-ness.” This process is a form of musical Texas Exceptionalism, in that it asserts a belief that Texas Fiddle Players are somehow different from their American fiddling peers. This manifests in three distinct ways. First, the fiddle contest stage provides a platform for Texas Fiddle Players to perform and affirm their musical identities. Second, each generation of Texas Fiddle Players from the last 100 years has treated American fiddle music like an untamed frontier. Finally, many notable Texas Fiddle Players play with specific technical and musical markers which aid in forming a regional dialect. These manifestations work together to create the “Texas Fiddle Player” identity.
Dr. Kristina Nielsen
Dr. Peter Kupfer
Dr. Sarah Allen
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Catlett, Emilie, "Texas Exceptionalism and Texas Style Fiddling: Fiddle Contests, Patriarchs, and Musical Markers" (2023). Music Theses and Dissertations. 12.