Skip to content. Skip to navigation. Christian hymns, choral anthems and light orchestral music for ballroom dancing were introduced in various locales. These and other accoutrements of modernity were built on tonal scaffoldings.

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In this review, I accept a few of these invitations and comment on issues that I consider likely to interest readers of Music Theory Online , particularly those who would like to see more attention paid to African music and musical thought in teaching, research, and music theory broadly conceived. The chapter on form begins with an outline of twenty-six brief excerpts that Agawu often discusses at the first meeting of an undergraduate survey course —49 , fifteen of which are from West Africa and six from Central Africa.

Transcriptions of the words to five of the online recordings are helpful, though the tones that distinguish syllables in tone languages are not marked, leaving it to readers to imitate differences that we hear on the recordings good exercise! While the book is primarily concerned with traditional music, he also guides readers through well-chosen examples of African popular and art musics.

To be sure, the engagement of prominent composers of art music in scholarly research is pertinent, and documentation of those engagements is more readily available than documentation of how the far more numerous creators and performers of popular music have represented and transformed traditional resources.

Those who, like myself, do not regard those boundaries as universal will not feel obliged to assign every musical utterance to a tone system. This topic deserves a somewhat fuller treatment in an introduction to the African imagination in music. In both cases, his answer is negative. Agawu is concerned throughout the book to correct what he regards as false or misleading interpretations, many of which he rightly sees as consequences of colonial rule and the postcolonial aftermath.

Agawu, Kofi. African Rhythm, a Northern Ewe Perspective. Cambridge University Press. Anku, Willie. Soundstage Production. Blum, Stephen. John Tyrrell and Stanley Sadie, vol. Oxford University Press. Brenner, Klaus-Peter. Chipendani und Mbira: Musikinstrumente, nicht-begriffliche Mathematik und die Evolution der harmonischen Progressionen in der Musik der Shona in Zimbabwe.

Folge, Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht. Campbell, Patricia Shehan. Chemillier, Marc. Odile Jacob. Dauer, Alfons. Artur Simon, 41— Finnegan, Ruth.

Irele, Abiola. Kubik, Gerhard. Theory of African Music , vol. Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology. University of Chicago Press. Intercultural Music Studies, 7. Wilhelmshaven: Florian Noetzel. Ong, Walter. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. Schneider, Albrecht. Sterne, Jonathan. Return to text. Items appearing in MTO may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the author s , and advance notification of the editors of MTO.

Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the editors of MTO, who will act in accordance with the decisions of the Society for Music Theory. This document and all portions thereof are protected by U. PDF text. Return to beginning.


Professor Kofi Agawu



V. Kofi Agawu



Kofi Agawu


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