Here you’ll find a list of academic articles on busking from around the world. There are articles that could be useful for street performers, placemakers, researchers, anthropologists, musicologists and so on. The information in each section has mainly been put together by our staff – and it’s taken a long time to do it. We hope you appreciate it!

If you know of something missing from what we have below – any information that could help a street performer out – please let us know by filling in this simple form and we’ll add it.

Traditions, Stereotypes, and Tactics: A History of Musical Buskers in Toronto

Canadian Journal for Traditional Music

This study sketches a history of Toronto street musicians and considers the relationship between this history and the musicians who have made it. Includes interviews/performances of more than 30 buskers.

“Industry Cannot Go On without the Production of Some Noise”: New York City’s Street Music Ban and the Sound of Work in the New Deal Era

Journal of Social History Vol. 26 (1)

This study details New York City’s Depression-era street music ban and concurrent noise abatement campaign to reveal the relationship of changing definitions of work with sound.

The One-Man Band by the Quick Lunch Stand: Modeling Audience Response to Street Performance

Journal of Cultural Economics, Vol. 24 (1)

This paper considers street performance, or busking, focusing on differences between performance in this environment compared with the standard concert setting.

Waits, musicians, bearwards and players: the inter-urban road travel and performances of itinerant entertainers in sixteenth and seventeenth century England

Journal of Historical Geography, Vol. 31

This paper explores the travels of performers rewarded for playing before civic dignitaries in some English towns and cities between c.1525 and c.1640, and the role and importance of royal and noble patrons in supporting these performers.

“In search of a Toronto sound… via underground”

American Society for Environmental History Conference

Sounding out the City: Music and the Sensuous Production of Place

Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 20 (4)

The relationship between music and place is explored through biographical information on one particular individual and his social activities and networks in the city of Liverpool.

Dead public spaces- live private corners: (Re) contextualization of musically public and private.

Serbian Academy of Science and Arts – Institute of Musicology

This article studies bagpipe tradition in Serbia, at different stages of its development and in different periods, specifically focusing on rural and urban contexts in diverse sociopolitical conditions.

Music in Public Space Gujarat – a Case Study

The paper presents a perspective on the role of the arts in cultural dialogue, which reflects on the situation in Gujarat, India, which has been the destination of people of diverse background and cultural practice for centuries.

The Phenomenology of the Music-Listening Experience

Arts Education Policy Review, Vol. 107 (3)

Within the last fifty years, an increasing number of writers have begun to examine the music-listening experience from the point of view of phenomenology. This article will review selections from this work.

The Functions of Music in Everyday Life: Redefining the Social in Music Psychology

Psychology of Music, Vol. 27 (71)

What psychological functions does music serve in everyday life? In this paper we argue that the answer to this question is changing as a result of current social and technological changes in music itself.

‘Falling on deaf ears’: a postphenomenology of sonorous presence

Environmenting and Planning A, Vol. 41 (11)

In this paper I engage with how we attend to sound in terms of musical performance. I take into account a recent experiment undertaken by the Washington Post where virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell busked at a Washington Underground station.

Irrevent musicking: flashmob chamber music and the politics of space

Conference Paper, Kings College London

This paper is based on a ‘flashmob chamber music’ experiment the authors organised in urban spaces in Cambridge, U.K. We will use these examples to explore how urban public space can affect and be affected by musical interventions.

Demsetz Underground: Busking Regulation and the Formation of Property Rights

New York University Law Review

This Note analyzes MUNY reaching two conclusions on how property rights develop. First, exogenous legal norms act as constraints, and second, Demsetz’s theory should take the inertia of property systems and the external shocks into account.

Motives of visitors attending festival events

Annals of Tourism Research

The escape-seeking dichotomy and the push-pull factors conceptual frameworks were used to identify motives which stimulated visitors to go to events at a festival.

Carnivals against capital: radical clowning and the global justice movement

Social Identities; Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, Vol. 16 (4)

This essay looks at an international performance phenomenon (refered to as tactical carnival), that has developed as a tactic in the toolbox of the burgeoning global justice movement.

Exploration of charity toward busking (street performance) as a function of religion

Pshychological Reports: Relationships and Communications, Vol.112 (2)

103 undergraduate students at a regional university in the southeastern US completed a battery of surveys regarding religion, and attitudes and behaviors toward busking in order to examine conceptions of religion and charity in a new venue; busking.

Street Performance and the City : Public Space, Sociality, and Intervening in the Everyday

Space and Culture, Vol.14 (4)

This article examines the performative transformation of street spaces into performance places by considering the practices of street performers, drawing on ethnographic observations undertaken in Bath, U.K.

Music in the Streets: The Example of Washington Square Park in New York City

Cambridge University Journals, Popular Music, Vol. 4

Music has always been part of street life, bringing it into enclosed spaces is a relatively recent experience but it has profoundly changed the way music is perceived and evaluated. Despite this, street music has not disappeared.

Rhythmic Landscapes: Performing a sense of place

In this paper, I want to examine the connections between music and place. How can a performance of music be a means of connecting its participants to place and, in doing this, create a sense of identity?

Kheimeh Shab Bazi: Iranian Traditional Marionette Theatre

Asian Theatre Journal, Vol. 26 (2)

Kheimeh shab bazi is a traditional marionette form of Iran. The practice of the art in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Iran is detailed.

Chronic everyday life: Rhythmanalysing street performance

Social and Cultural Geography, Vol. 9 (7)

This paper argues for an ecological perspective on practices and performances attentive to the contextual and the evental, through an examination of the hybrid temporalities of street performance through the gaze of Henri Lefebvre’s ‘Rhythmanalyst’.

Music on the edge: Busking at the Cliffs of Moher and the commodification of a musical landscape

Tourist Studies

In this article, I explore the complex and changing relationship between Irish identity, music, and tourism at the Cliffs of Moher, one of the most popular tourist sites and spot for buskers in all of Ireland.

The importance of individual and situational factors for musical emotions and stress reduction

Doctoral Dissertation, University of Gothenburg, Faculty of Social Sciences

The aim of this thesis was to explore the effects of everyday music listening on emotions, stress and health. By using the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM), a new approach was taken to study the prevalence of musical emotions in everyday life.

Experiential and cognitive changes following seven minutes exposure to music and speech

Music Perception, Vol. 28 (3)

In two experiments, we assessed the experiential and cognitive consequences of 7min exposure to music and speech. These consequences were overlapping in the experiments, suggesting that music and speech draw on a common emotional code.

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