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Music in West Africa

Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture

Ruth M. Stone

10 June 2004

ISBN: 9780195145007

128 pages
209 x 141mm

Global Music Series

Price: £25.99



This book introduces the musical traditions of West Africa and discusses the diversity, motifs, and structure of West African music within the larger patterns of the region's culture. Drawing upon the author's extensive fieldwork, it explores how the music's complex rhythmic combinations in fast-paced patterns and quick, tightly orchestrated movements influence how West Africans understand themselves and their culture.

About the Author(s)

Ruth M. Stone, Professor at Folklore Institute and African Studies; and Adjunct Professor, School of Music, Indiana University

Table of Contents

    , Preface
    , CD List
    1. Traveling to West Africa
    West Africa in Perspective
    Music in the Arts and Life
    Style Areas
    Ideas about Performance
    Musical Instruments
    2. Performance Facets
    Vocal Facets in Epic Performance
    Instrumental Facets in Horn Ensemble Performance
    Continity in Performance: Woni Ensemble
    Vocal and Instrumental Facets in Bush Clearing Songs
    Parallels in the Arts
    Faceting: Cutting off the Edge
    Cloth Pattern
    Masks and Carved Figures
    Greeting Sequences
    Obscuring Facets
    3. Voices: Layered Tone Colors
    Timbre in African Music
    Instruments: The Sounds of a Triangular Frame-Zither
    The Centrality of the Voice
    Instruments: Musical Bow
    Sound Texture in Epic
    Social Resonance
    Instruments: Inanga and the Whispered Song
    Other Timbral Dimensions of Sound
    Symbolic Associations of Tone Color
    Cloth Color
    4. Part-Counterpart: Call and Response
    Call and Response Variations
    Non-Overlapping Call and Reponse
    , Rice Planting Song
    , Children's Counting Song
    , Kpelle Rubber Camp Music
    , Entertainment Love Song
    Overlapping Call and Response
    , Musical Dramatic Folktale (Chante Fable)
    , Epic Performance
    Dialogic Relationships
    Relation to Resonance
    , Drummer-Supporting Drummer
    Gifts that Keep the Performance Going
    5. Time and Polyrhythm
    A Master Drummer's Life History
    Fitting the Pieces Together
    Rhythmic Patterns in the Epic
    , Contingency
    , Action
    Inner Time
    , Kpelle Performance in Liberia
    , The Island of Lamu, East Africa
    , The Shona of Southern Africa
    , The Spiritual World
    The Larger Process
    Life History
    Time in Local Life
    Balancing the Quantitative and Qualitative
    6. Surveying the Trip: Cutting the Edge
    Central Themes
    , Glossary
    , References
    , CD Notes
    , Resources