Chapter

Beating time: resistance and the subaltern voice in prison work songs

Mary-Ann Constantine and Gerald Porter

in Fragments and Meaning in Traditional Song

Published by British Academy

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262887
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734441 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197262887.003.0007

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Beating time: resistance and the subaltern voice in prison work songs

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This chapter discusses resistance and the subaltern voice present in prison work songs. It shows that the songs that accompany work and follow its rhythm stand as a collective challenge to ideas of what makes a ‘complete’ or shapely song. The chapter presents excerpts of several prison songs, which show that these songs are full of breaks, have episodes that return to their starting-point, and that their leads are not followed up. These songs assume not only a world ‘out there’, but also a context of more or less indefinite variation.

Keywords: prison work songs; resistance; subaltern voice; leads; episodes; variation

Chapter.  4701 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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