Share your Fieldwork

The primary aim of Outreach Ethnomusicology is to share fieldwork research. Below is a list of items that are included for view by members of the community. 

Some of these articles are official documents of research which have been submitted to university departments, so they are set "not viewable" by the public, only registered members of outreach can view them. But, we welcome all sorts of articles within the interests of ethnomusicology, so please get in touch on if you think you would like to contribute.

When we receive documents, we usually will have a full read through, and then reply with a formatted version for the internet, ready to publish. How much exposure or access you want for your work will depend on your own needs, and we will publish or unpublish anything upon request. 

Thank you,



Music and Recreational Drugs

Recreational Drugs and Music Trance in the modern dance scene: A sub cultural phenomenon

From the Latin transire which means to cross or pass over, the word trance
describes the human soul passing out of the body into another state of being; into an
ecstatic state. Trance can be obtained through the sense of hearing. This is evident in
the electronic dance music culture. The usage of repetitive rhythms to create trance
states, in combination with the usage of drugs, is an ancient phenomenon. The
purpose of this essay is to show the relationship of recreational drugs and music
trance in the modern dance scene, through the study and research of the drugs
themselves, dance music and the people associated with them; the industry and the

Rhythmical drumming…produces striking abnormal psychological states ( comparable to
those produced by some drugs) …These effects include hallucinations…fatigue, confusion, fear,
disgust, anger and pleasure; distortion of time perception… ( Sturtevant 1968: 133)
As mentioned above, since ancient times, tribes used to dance to a repetitive
drum beat, and most of the times by using hallucinogenic drugs, such as salvia
divinorum1; thus bringing themselves in a state of trance. Interestingly enough, this
phenomenon is still apparen created in a laboratory. Even the name “recreational
drugs” connotes in that they are made for recreation purposes; meaning that anyone
who wants to entertain himself , should use them or else he cannot be entertained.
The market for recreational drugs is probably the biggest in the world. People
in developed and developing countries appear to have a desire, sometimes a strong
one, to alter their state of consciousness. The use of stimulant drugs allows them to
stay awake and dance all night under the sound of repetitive rhythmic patterns. The
drugs calm their anxiety and give them alternative forms of consciousness; thus trying
to make them to forget and escape from the troubles of everyday life. Some of the
recreational drugs and more common ones that are used in the modern dance scene
are: the cannabis or marijuana, the amphetamines (Dexedrine), LCD, Ecstasy or
MDMA, ketamine, heroine, cocaine, GHB, PCP or angel dust, methamphetamine,
DXM , Quaaludes, Psychedelic Mushrooms and Laughing Gas; all the above in
combination with alcohol, nicotine or energy drinks, such as Lucozade and Red Bull.

GHB Powder

1 Salvia Divinorum is a powerful psychoactive plant . It has long been used by the indigenous Mazatec (Oaxaca, Southern
Mexico) shamans for healing during spirit journeys.

Several types of ecstasy pills.

Quaaludes or methaqualone tablets and capsules

Out of all the above mentioned recreational drugs, ecstasy is the most popular. Its
popularity as recreational drug coincided with the rise of the rave dance scene of the
1990s. Ecstasy stimulates the brain to produce increased levels of serotonin, a
neurotransmitter which affects our mood. It can cause dehydration, as most of the
users dance for hours without drinking enough water. Other side effects are
depression, memory loss, loss of appetite, increased heart rate and pressure.
Subjective effects are the increased positive emotion and increased sociability and
closeness to other people. The problem though is that, as with many drugs, pills which
contain other substances are often sold as ecstasy2. According to some users:

"A normal dose of pure ecstasy can last between three and six hours. After 1 hour, you feel your heart
beating fast, your palms sweat.. It’ s always better if you haven’t eaten before; when it goes to your
stomach, it creates fizz. You can dance for hours and stay awake all night. You love everybody around
you! ( Anonymous 2007 )"

2 Sometimes, ecstasy is also called MDMA which stands for Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.