|Abstract: ||The dissertation takes up the issue of understanding the term “experience” and its practical application in studying cultural texts. The term “experience” and the process of experiencing aided the Author in the endeavour to decipher aspects of the region of Upper Silesia revealed in blues works. In order to accomplish that, the subsequent chapters of the paper address the following matters: clarifying the understanding of the term “experience”; the possible ways of experiencing the region; the possible ways of experiencing blues works; and analysing the Upper Silesian aspects expressed in blues music. The aim of the dissertation was twofold: to address the question of which aspects of Upper Silesia clearly correspond with the works of Upper Silesian bluesmen and to present the discussed blues works in Upper Silesia as a distinguishable cultural phenomenon.
Chapter I. In the chapter entitled Anthropological and Philosophical Roots of Experience, the Author collects and presents various ways of understanding the term “experience” and indicates the ones that find application in the further parts of the dissertation. Firstly, the original distinction into external and internal experience (following John Locke) is assumed. Afterwards, based on Wilhelm Dilthey’s thought, an order of observing texts of culture is proposed by indicating three basic ways of expressing cultural content: judgments and concepts, actions, and experiences. An attempt is also made to describe the basic human experiences: space, time, encounter. The considerations on experience also include the issue of time and space in music.
Chapter II. The chapter On Experiencing Upper Silesia attempts to describe Upper Silesian characteristics using the category of “experience.” It cites descriptions of external and internal experience of Upper Silesia concerning space, landscape, history and people. Based on examples of scientific and colloquial statements, it distinguishes between objective (external) and subjective (internal) structuring of the region’s description in both utterance types. The Author points to the exchange of external and internal experiences as a culture-forming element shaping the region of Upper Silesia.
Chapter III. In the chapter The Experience of Blues Works, the Author describes the characteristics of blues works in view of their historical and cultural origins as well as artistic form (musical and verbal). He elaborates on the explanation of the term “blues” and the contexts of its meaning as well as the origins of blues aesthetics in Poland, pointing at the experience of “want” as a fundamental extra-musical element shaping blues music. The Author addresses the issue of broadly conceived authenticity in blues music and proposes to interpret blues works based on the category of internal experience, with particular emphasis on self-expression.
Chapter IV. In the chapter Authentically Silesian Blues, the Author discusses the creative work of selected Upper Silesian bluesmen, interpreting it as a possible carrier of expressions of experiencing the region. The term “authentically Silesian blues” refers to the extra-musical regional characteristics manifested in their works. Song lyrics, album covers and other carriers of expression of ‘Upper-Silesianness’ are analysed. The Author points to the experience of “loss” or “want” as a frequent theme of Upper Silesia-oriented blues pieces. The major topics focus on transience: the passing away of old Silesia, the loss of loved ones, death in coalmines, the need to preserve the memory of the region and the people. The chapter also addresses the aspect of Upper Silesian landscape present in this art. The conducted analysis reveals the existence of a separate cultural phenomenon – both within Silesian culture and broadly conceived blues art.
In conclusion, the author determines that blues and Upper Silesian melancholy share a common source in the broadly conceived experience of loss. He assumes that this feature of blues naturally attracted certain Upper Silesian themes, which means that it fragmented the experience of the region with its characteristics. The Author also expresses an exploratory belief that assuming the perspective of deciphering Upper Silesian experiences based on judgments and concepts, actions, and experiences, offers an opportunity to rethink the language of the region and to amass and organise the collection of Upper Silesian experiences. Thus, the judgments, concepts, actions and experiences are perceived and discussed as significant ways of expression of Upper Silesian culture.|