"Oh, When the Wiz": An Ethnography of Communal Music-Making in Kansas City Soccer Culture
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If you have spent any amount of time in the United States, you have certainly encountered the frenzied culture around professionalized sports. Attending a game, you have likely engaged in some participatory music-making through chanting, cheering, or singing, but have you ever stopped to ponder why and how that music-making works? Association football (soccer) fans around the world chant together as a means of establishing a game day atmosphere as well as to proclaim their collective identity as members of an exclusive group. Aiming to explore this relationship between communal music-making, collective identity, and the establishment of a sporting culture, this thesis focuses on the Kansas City-based Major League Soccer franchise, Sporting Kansas City, and their section of ultras called “The Cauldron.” In a season defined by flexible scheduling and stadiums operating at a reduced capacity, the seeds of this established fraternity continued to breathe life, working tirelessly to keep Sporting Kansas City’s trademark atmosphere alive and well. Through the collection and analysis of audio data, immersive first-hand observations, one-on-one interviews, and secondary research and theory review, this thesis answers the questions: What can we learn about the community within The Cauldron through their chant repertoire and music-making? How does the global exchange of music show us what aspects of music are important to soccer fans? And what can music usage tell us about the American sporting culture at large?
Table of Contents
A beautiful sound in the beautiful game -- The cauldron casts its spell: a repertoire of chants -- Music-making in a most unusual place -- No place we'd rather be: music-making and fan culture -- Stoppage time -- Appendix A. Chant composing chart -- Appendix B. Sporting Kansas City vs, San Jose Earthquakes chart -- Appendix C. Chant occurrence graph, Kansas City vs San Jose -- Appendix D. Interview transcript
M.M. (Master of Music)