THE MUSIC OF AFRICA by Joseph H. Kwabena Nketia


Email this review


A basic text on African music, its cultural functions and its manifold forms. African music is generally more integrated with the other arts (especially dance) and with social life, and it must be considered in that context. The author examines the selection, scope, and setting of music; the groups and cults; the training and recruitment of the musicians. Instruments are classified according to the schema of idiophone, membranophone, aerophone, and chordophone. Vocal music -- stressed more than instrumental -- can be very intricate in its polyphony, and its solo-chorus alternations; moreover, it is closely connected to the speech, since many languages are tone languages. Nketia analyzes the rhythms, cross rhythms, and polyrhythms according to combinations of duple and triple, linear and multilinear, free meter and strict time designs. Scales are based on four, five, six, and seven step tunings in equidistant or nonequidistant patterns. For those who understand the rudiments of music, this is a valuable course in a diverse, complex field.

Pub Date: July 29th, 1974
ISBN: 0393092496
Publisher: Norton