About the BookVolume 10 of the "Compendium of Scottish Ethnology" brings together a series of essays by a diverse range of authors on the themes of oral literature and performance culture. The topics covered in this volume include: narrative collection and performance; music (traditional, folk & classical); Gaelic song and verse; ballads; bothy ballads; chapbooks; child lore; dance; and, theatre and drama. The cultural motifs that have over the years been gathered together to constitute the National Song Book and National Drama are identified and discussed. In so doing, the role of 'tradition' in these key aspects of the cultural life of the Scots is thrown into relief. It emerges that tradition and identity are cultural traits which are capable of bearing many meanings. The characterisation of 'tradition' as the immutable source, unadulterated by human invention is challenged in this volume, and in its place is a recognition of the dynamic nature of many of those cultural forms which are described as 'traditional'.
This volume acts an ethnographic source in its own terms - drawing together details and insights regarding phenomena such as the Folk Revival of the 1950s and the collection and collectors of 'folk' stories and songs. The impressive range of this volume demonstrates the many ways in which Scots have communicated and continue to communicate with each other regarding the local and national and the communal and the intimate concerns of yesterday, today and tomorrow.