The Art of the ‘Fieldwork Movie’: 35 Years of Making Ethnomusicological Films

Baily, John S.. 2009. The Art of the ‘Fieldwork Movie’: 35 Years of Making Ethnomusicological Films. Ethnomusicology Forum, 18(1), pp. 55-64. ISSN 1741-1912 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This short article traces the author's work as an ethnomusicological filmmaker from 1973. Starting with very basic equipment, and using an 8mm camera as a research tool during his fieldwork in western Afghanistan, the author describes his discovery of the joys of editing his field materials to create The Herat Trilogy. These films led him to the National Film and Television School, where he imbibed the stylistic principles of observational cinema. At the NFTS he directed two 16mm ethnographic films, Amir and Lessons from Gulam. In 2000 he embarked on a series of field trips to explore the situation of music in the Afghan transnational community. In this new context the author developed further the use of the video camera as a research tool, editing selected research footage into ‘fieldwork movies’ which remain faithful to many of the principles of observational cinema.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Afghanistan Music Unit (AMU)



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Date Deposited:

27 Sep 2011 10:45

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 15:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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