Theory of African Music: v.1 (Mixed media product)
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Short Description for Theory of African Music: v.1 Offers an account of the music of Africa. This book describes and examines xylophone playing in southern Uganda and harp music from the Central African Republic; compares multi-part singing from across the continent; and explores movement and sound in eastern Angola. It also includes a cognitive study of African rhythm and Yoruba chantefables.
- Published: 30 November 2010
- Format: Mixed media product 464 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780226456911 ISBN 10: 0226456919
Reviews for Theory of African Music: v.1
'Theory of African Music' Volumes I & II, Gerhard Kubik (Reviewed by José A. Sotorrío) (ToneSpectra.com)
This unique collection of essays on African music is a culmination of over three decades of extensive research and fieldwork involving direct interactions with native musicians and experts. I recognise some writings as revisions of earlier papers* (extracted from over 300 of Kubik's publications since 1958) but now recast and streamlined, complete with proper introductions and excerpts -both written and recorded- that help to provide context. The content should be accessible to any student or enthusiast with a basic grasp of music notation. (Examples are presented in traditional music staff notation, instrument-specific cipher and also dance 'grid' notation where appropriate, with instrument diagrams that musicians could adapt into suitable forms of tablature.) At first, I was surprised to find (normally introductory) information on 'time-line patterns' and 'timing systems' in Volume II, only to discover that the essays are arranged chronologically rather than systemised according to subject. Beginning with his earliest researches, this approach conveniently organises the material into increasingly more difficult and involved areas. The importance and influence of dance and movement on both compositional and performance technique is not overlooked or sidelined (which is all too often the case). Kubik is keen to convey the art of African music as a living tradition rather than one set in stone. He is, here and elsewhere, sensitive to both ancient and more recent developments. The accompanying discs -featuring a total of 75 (albeit rather truncated) examples- are a very welcome addition.
*For example, 'Xylophone playing in Uganda', The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1964; 'Harp Music of the Azande and Related Peoples in the Central African Republic', African Music (journal), 1964.
Features: An extensive 'Further Reading' list (intended as an extension to the Bibliography in Volume I), chapter reference 'Notes', an 'Authors & Artists Index', a 'Song Index', a 'General Index', photographs of ceremonies and instruments being played, explanations regarding the essential construction, tuning process and workings of traditional instruments, a survey of tuning conventions for the likembe (a.k.a Kalimba/Mbira/Sanza) and a surprising and fascinating analysis of African ideographs and their significance to African perceptions of space and time. Includes 2 Compact Discs [Disc 1 has 46 examples; Disc 2 has 29 examples].
Review by José A. Sotorrío (ToneSpectra.com) by José A. Sotorrío