McKean, Thomas. "Tradition as Communication." Oral Tradition 18:1 (2003), 49-50.
McKean observes that tradition is a form of social communication, which combines memory, orality, and literacy as it passes ideas from one generation to another (McKean 2003, 49). In this sense, then, oral tradition is a living means of communicating an authority figure's information over time. However, McKean also acknowledges the instrumentality of the performer, who is, in a sense, creating a newly autoritative version of a work. The tradition, then, has both private and public elements, often oral and written sources, and multiple levels of connection among generations and cultures (McKean 2003, 50).