Musik och sport. En analys av musikanvändning, ljudlandskap, identitet och dramaturgi i samband med lagsportevenemang

G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Kaj Ahlsved
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-952-12-3609-9
eISBN: 9789521236105


The aim of this article dissertation is to study the use of music in
sporting contexts. I have primarily focused on practices related to the
use of recorded music during team sporting events in Finland. This is
divided into three interlocking questions: How is music used during team
sporting events to shape and change the soundscape of the event? What
role does the music have in shaping the dramaturgy of the sporting
event? How does music contribute in the construction of local and
national identities, both in and outside the sports arena?

I approach music at sports events as an example of “music in our
everyday life”, by which I refer to music that one has not necessarily
chosen to listen to in situations driven by something other than
listening to music. Viewed from this perspective, music during sporting
events is connected to discussions about the ubiquitous music of our
everyday life.

My research perspective is influenced by the central
ethnomusicological idea of viewing music as culture, which ultimately
implies studying musical practices as well. My research is influenced by
cultural musicology (the cultural study of music), soundscape studies,
and ethnomusicology. These are methodologically connected by fieldwork,
as in experiencing the culture out in the field. I have concentrated on
male teams in ice hockey, football, and pesäpallo (“Finnish
baseball”),which are sports that do not presuppose music, but music
frames the sport in a cultural context. The empirical material analysed
in the dissertation consists of fieldwork diaries, interviews, sound
recordings, and different types of video recordings (own recordings,
tv-broadcasts and YouTube videos); as well as recorded songs, media
texts (books, newspapers, social media etc.), and enquiries.

In the first article ”Det är hemmaplansfavör!” Strukturerna i tre
sporters ljudlandskap studerade ur ett hi-fi/lo-fi–perspektiv [“It is
home-field advantage!” The structures of three sports soundscapes
studied from a hi-fi/lo-fi–perspective] I study the structures of three
sports soundscapes, namely ice hockey, football, and pesäpallo, by
applying central soundscape theories from R. Murray Schafer (1977) and
Barry Truax (1984) on my own empirical material.

The second article Let’s play hockey. Ishockeymusikens funktioner
[Let’s play hockey. The functions of ice hockey music] is an analysis of
the functions of ice hockey music. The material used in the article is
the result of fieldwork during ice hockey teams HIFK’s, Jokerit’s, and
HC TPS’s home games.

In the third article The cultural practice of localizing mediated
sports music I study mediaization processes, such as the practices and
processes that facilitate the localization of media disseminated music.
The material for the study comes from many sporting contexts and via
unique material on the use of marching music I shed light on how old
military marches are ascribed new meanings within the context of
Ostrobothnian football culture.

In the fourth article Musik, ishockeylejon och konstruerandet av en
nationell gemenskap [Music, ice hockey lions, and the construction of a
national community] identity construction is studied from a national
perspective. I study the music culture related to the Finnish national
men’s ice hockey team and argue that the national team represent an
imagined community. The use of music, particularly the new music that is
produced preceding the men’s World Championships, is viewed as a form
of banal nationalism that makes the nation present in everyday life.

My research shows that the problematization of so-called ubiquitous
music, which in earlier research has been discussed in relation to
active and passive listening, is in sporting contexts supplemented by
yet another complex aspect. The use of music, played by sport DJs, in
sporting contexts does not only strive to make the soundscape more
pleasant, the aim of the music can also be to activate the audience to
make own sound. In sporting contexts there can exist culturally
meaningful rituals which are carried out to the music and are connected
with identity construction. The music of the sports arena does not
merely reflect, rather, it can support the construction of identities,
as it becomes a part of cultural practices in local or national sporting

TV-productions often focus on fans and supporters, which play the
ideal role that supporters are supposed to act out. The audience
behaviour and sound not only creates the atmosphere of the event but
also authenticates the event as something great, important, and deeply
engaging. While the study shows how the sounds created by the audience
and the audience’s active participation are important for the atmosphere
of the event this is not solely unproblematic since it also includes
playing more music, which in worst case scenarios can cause cacophonic


cultural musicology, musicology

Last updated on 2020-28-09 at 03:07