Timothy Tayolor (2) Musical Performance as a Medium of Value

Timothy Taylor’s second lecture, held at the Anthropology of Music Triple Lecture 2018, on June 28.

This presentation is an attempt to theorize musical performance as a medium of value. Drawing on anthropological theories of value, mainly from Terence Turner and David Graeber, this paper argues that musical performances, and those that are caught up in broader contexts such as festivals, rituals, or ceremonies, play important roles in realizing,consummating, establishing, or reinforcing values held by those communities that engage in such performances. I define performance as something that takes place with an audience and that is something that is culturally and socially understood as a performance. Value is built up privately in preparations for performances, but is only realized or consummated in the moment of performance with the presence and interaction of audience members.