Dried Millet Breaking

Dried Millet Breaking : Time, Words, and Song in the Woi Epic of the Kpelle

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Dried millet breaking," sung by the bard at the end of one episode of this Woi epic of the Kpelle people of Liberia, represents a formula that breaks the flow of events and introduces the epic's complex temporal scaffolding. Examining the singing, narration, dramatic performance, instrumental accompaniment, and timing of the Woi epic, Ruth M. Stone reveals that the Kpelle show time flux through changing timbres, motion, and spatial metaphors in ways fundamentally different from those of much Western art music. In this illuminating study Stone moves beyond typical genre studies of African music to shed light on broader questions of music's relationship to areas of culture often ignored.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 170 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 13.2mm | 408.24g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253318181
  • 9780253318183

Review quote

"Dried Millet Breaking is a commendable piece of work that should be of interest to a range of scholars in anthropology and other disciplines." - American Anthropologist "Among its many virtues, this book contains excellent examples of the special qualities of African perceptions of both the temporal and spiritual worlds." - International Journal of African Historical Studies " ... a sound anthropological inquiry ... a work that reveals alternative ways than our own of comprehending and expressing the meaning of time." - Time's News "Professor Stone's intelligent and provocative discussions of time, language, history, and African literary traditions will prove important to a broader understanding of music's role in oral literature... a major contribution to the field of ethnomusicology." - Lester P. Monts
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Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgments Music Transcription Symbols and Kpelle Orthography Chapter 1 Battles That Never End Chapter 2 The Woi Epic Chapter 3 Dried Millet Breaking Chapter 4 Exchanges That Keep the Epic Going Chapter 5 The Textured Moment in Epic Chapter 6 The Person in Epic Chapter 7 The Epic in Local Life Chapter 8 Our Old People, Their Old People: The Epic and the Past Chapter 9 Epic and Time in Perspective Glossary of Kpelle Terms and Names References Cited Index
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