New Traditional School in Scotland


Since the 1990s there has been a significant increase in the creation of larger-scale and innovative composition by traditional musicians in Scotland. The composers of these musical works experiment with forms beyond the common 32 bar dance tune, draw on a wide range of influences and engage in opportunity-based professional development in this unique community of practice: the New Traditional School (Watson, 2013). This research will provide the first scholarly documentation and analysis of this unique community and its activities. 

I am both a researcher (ethnomusicologist and artistic researcher) and a composing traditional musician in Scotland. I seek to advance the practice of beyond-tune composition, make explicit the creative and performance strengths of contemporary traditional musicians, and contribute to our understanding of the nature of tradition and its relationship with creativity. 

In this pilot study, I will document, collect and analyse in-depth fieldwork interviews, survey data, musical scores and recordings, and literature, archival and publicly available data relating to the New Traditional School in Scotland and its activities, from earliest work in 1984 to the present day. I will map the New Traditional School in a database, begin the first collection/archive of beyond-tune compositions and complete detailed case studies with selected composers.  

I openly invite submissions of composed works, responses to the composer survey and project-related communications via this site.