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International Encyclopedia of Dance
In West Africa dance is often inseparable from drumming. This is particularly so in Yoruba Dance where the dancers must understand the musical structure and phrasing of the drums and match their stepping to the drum rhythms. These articles, accompanied by comprehensive bibliographies containing scholarly sources, offer connections between culture and musical practice.
Drumming Traditions of West Africa - Sound recordings
West African Drumming Performance Resources
Many comprehensive encyclopedias contain articles on West African music genres and are often accompanied by extensive bibliographies which provide further resources. Try the entries for Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana in Oxford Music Online.
Link to the full Oxford Music Online (also known as Grove Music Online) and other resources below:
West African Drumming - Literature
Fiddling in West Africa by Fiddling has had a lengthy history in Africa which has long been ignored. Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje corrects this oversight with an expansive study on fiddling in the Fulbe, Hausa, and Dagbamba cultures of West Africa. DjeDje not only explains the history of the instrument itself, but also discusses the processes of stylistic transference and adaptation, suggesting how these may have contributed to differing performance practices. Additionally, DjeDje delves into the music, the performance context, the musicians behind the fiddle, the meaning of the instrument, and its use in these three cultures. This detailed work helps the reader understand and appreciate three little-known musical cultures in West Africa and the fiddle's influence upon them.
Call Number: Online
Publication Date: 2008
Women's Songs from West Africa by 17 ethnographic essays describe the origins, organization, subject matter, and context of a variety of genres of songs. They also explore the performance contexts of singers and singing and the role played by women in the continuity of tradition in African culture. Women's Songs from West Africa expands our understanding of the world of women in West Africa and their complex and subtle roles as verbal artists. Covering Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and beyond, the essays attest to the importance of women's contributions to the most widespread form of verbal art in Africa.
Call Number: Online
Publication Date: 2013
African Polyphony and Polyrhythm by In this detailed study Simha Arom takes a new and original approach to the understanding of the complex and sophisticated patterns of polyphony and polyrhythm that characterise African music. Considering in particular the harp, sanza, xylophone and percussion music of Central Africa, Simha Arom develops a rigorous method for the analysis of the music and for the recording and deciphering of the many strands of polyphony and polyrhythm. Through a systematic breakdown of the many layers of apparently improvised rhythm he reveals the essential structure which underlies this rich and complex music. Inspired also by linguistic techniques, Professor Arom regards the music very much as a grammatical system.
Call Number: Print: 781.767 A769P/t and Online
African Music: Traditional and Contemporary by It is customary in the Western world for people to use the term 'African music' as if it were a single clearly identifiable phenomenon. Yet when one considers the size of the continent (the second largest in the world), the enormous differences in climate and terrain producing contrasting ways of life across the land mass, and, above all, its extreme multilingualism (more than 1800 different languages constituting a third of the world's languages), one should not be surprised at the diversity of music and the difficulty of isolating distinctly African features common to the whole continent. Besides, the study of its music did not proceed everywhere with equal thoroughness, insight or purpose. This new and important book is an overview of music in Africa.
Call Number: 780.96 A275A 2005
African Rhythm and African Sensibility: aesthetics and social action in African musical idioms by "We have in this book a Rosetta stone for mediating, or translating, African musical behavior and aesthetics."—Andrew Tracey, African Music "John Miller Chernoff, who spent 10 years studying African drumming, has a flair for descriptive writing, and his first-person narratives should be easily understood by any reader, while ringing unmistakably true for the reader who has also been to West Africa."—Roderick Knight, Washington Post Book World "Ethnomusicologists must be proud that their discipline has produced a book that will, beyond doubt, rank as a classic of African studies."—Peter Fryer, Research in Literatures "A marvelous book. . . . Not many scholars will ever be able to achieve the kind of synthesis of 'doing' and 'writing about' their subject matter that Chernoff has achieved, but he has given us an excellent illustration of what is possible."—Chet Creider, Culture "Chernoff develops a brilliant and penetrating musicological essay that is, at the same time, an intensely personal and even touching account of musical and cultural discovery that anyone with an interest in Africa can and should read. . . . No other writing comes close to approaching Chernoff's ability to convey a feeling of how African music 'works'"—James Koetting, Africana Journal "Four stars. One of the few books I know of that talks of the political, social, and spiritual meanings of music. I was moved. It was so nice I read it twice."—David Byrne of "Talking Heads" The companion cassette tape has 44 examples of the music discussed in the book. It consists of field recordings illustrating cross-rhythms, multiple meters, call and response forms, etc.
Call Number: 780.96 C521A
Mande Music: traditional and modern music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa by With Mande Music, Eric Charry offers the most comprehensive source available on one of Africa's richest and most sophisticated music cultures. Using resources as disparate as early Arabic travel accounts, oral histories, and archival research as well as his own extensive studies in Mali, Guinea, Senegal, and the Gambia, Charry traces this music culture from its origins in the thirteenth-century Mali empire to the recording studios of Paris and New York. He focuses on the four major spheres of Mande music--hunter's music, music of the jelis or griots, jembe and other drumming, and guitar-based modern music--exploring how each evolved, the types of instruments used, the major artists, and how each sphere relates to the others. With its maps, illustrations, and musical transcriptions as well as an exhaustive bibliography, discography, and videography, this book is essential reading for those seeking an in-depth look at one of the most exciting, innovative, and deep-rooted phenomena on the world music scene. A compact disc is available separately.
Representing African Music: postcolonial notes, queries, positions by The aim of this book is to stimulate debate by offering a critique of discourse about African music. Who writes about African music, how, and why? What assumptions and prejudices influence the presentation of ethnographic data? Even the term "African music" suggests there is an agreed-upon meaning, but African music signifies differently to different people. This book also poses the question then, "What is African music?" Agawu offers a new and provocative look at the history of African music scholarship that will resonate with students of ethnomusicology and post-colonial studies. He offers an alternative "Afro-centric" means of understanding African music, and in doing so, illuminates a different mode of creativity beyond the usual provenance of Western criticism. This book will undoubtedly inspire heated debate--and new thinking--among musicologists, cultural theorists, and post-colonial thinkers. Also includes 15 musical examples.