Dramaturgical Guitars

Symbolic Interaction Music Blog

Having both begun playing guitar about this time last year, in this post Xan Nowakowski and J. Sumerau collaboratively reflect on some ways people interpret and use guitars in ways that signify meaning about themselves, music, and the wider social world.

One of the things we have enjoyed most about learning to play guitar is learning about guitars themselves, and all the different ways musicians interpret these objects. How does a guitar become an iconic element of a musician’s act – and indeed, of their image beyond that act? How do people assign meaning to their guitars? In a dramaturgical sense, what does these objects signify to people using them and / or witnessing their use?

There is perhaps no more suitable case to start such a conversation than Willie Nelson’s undying, singular devotion to a specific guitar. Since the beginning of his career, Nelson has played his beloved

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