Archive for the ‘Afrocentricity’ Category

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Author: Jason Richards

A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

This project examines how literary uses of blackface minstrelsy both stabilize and destabilize raced and national identities by investigating texts that involve figurative and literal representations of whites in blackface and blacks in whiteface. The narratives I analyze employ minstrelsy not only to create and sustain raced identities, but also to register slippages, overlaps, and inversions across the color line—paradoxically reinforcing and subverting racial hierarchies. I am ultimately concerned with how this paradox reveals the often contradictory nature of American selfhood. By drawing on postcolonial theory to explore how minstrelsy shaped national identity, I have sought to recontextualize blackface, which has remained largely outside discussions of postcoloniality in American studies.READ IT HERE

 

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sensibility

Author: John Chernoff

Source: The world of Music 39 (2) 1997: 19-25

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“In West African research, the concept of “hearing” defines an interesting metaphmic complex that is, perhaps, more often bewildering than serviceable. There are certainly many ways in which I have had to consider the connotations of the verb “to hear” in my research. Early during my work in Ghana, I found the peculiaiities of Ghanaian English to be an avenue for me to get ideas about culture, in the same way that Ghanaian use of English is a vehicle for Ghanaians to transport local culture into another idiom (Sey 1973). There were quite a few words and phrases that were used in ways I never had heard before, and although I was not sophisticated about linguistics, I knew enough to figure that I could take these various usages as something like literal translations of words in indigenous languages, particularly when I was with people who were not totally fluent in English. Apart from idiomatic English that had become standard among those who had a secondary or university education, there was fertile ground in the Ghanaian type of Pidgin as well as in the English that were common among people who were either uneducated or who were educated up to middle school.”

CONTINUE HERE

butler

Author: Melvin L. Butler

Source: “Ethnomusicology and the African Diaspora” African Diaspora Studies and the Disciplines. Eds.
Tejumola Olaniyan, James Sweet, Madeleine Wong. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press

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“Clearly, there is much more to say about ethnomusicological approaches to Africa and its diaspora. This essay has really only scratched the surface of inquiry into the contributions of music scholars to an enhanced understanding of black  expressive  cultures around the globe. In ethnomusicological fieldwork and writing, there remain many unresolved issues. Perhaps some of the longest-standing debates among those who endeavor to study the world’s musical traditions revolve around the issues of epistemology, fieldwork, and representation. What is required for a scholar to “know” a piece of music? To what extent can ethnomusicologists gain an “insider’s” understanding of a musical tradition? In what ways does a scholar’s national, racial, and/or gender identity impact how African diasporic musical forms are represented visually and ethnographically?”

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Authors: Givewell Munyaradzi & Webster Zimidzi

Source: Creative Education, vol. 3, n0 2, 2012, 193-195

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ABSTRACT: “This article provides a review of Western and African music. The study made a comparison of Western and African music against a biased background towards Western music especially during the nineteenth century when music was interpreted from a Euro-centric perspective. It is important to investigate Africa’s contributions to the music industry. Different interpretations were informed by lack of literature on African music prior to colonization because African music was not recorded in written form. It was entirely based on oral tradition. Failure by early European ethnomusicologists to appreciate traditional African music further isolated African music. Areas of differences are seen in the way Africans treat their rhythm. African rhythms are complicated as compared to Western rhythm. Data for the study were collected using review of related literature on both Western and African music. Major recommendations from this study are as follows, a cross cultural paradigm is needed to enable researchers related stake holders to understand the significance of both Western and African music.”

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Author: John Miller Chernoff
Source: Keynote Address to the Southern Plains Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology at the University of North Texas, 2009.

Earlier version presented in 1990 at the Performance International Conference, Department of Performance Studies, Tisch School

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“In 1979 I published a book called African Rhythm and African Sensibility (Chernoff, 1979). I subtitled the book Aesthetics and Social Action in African Musical Idioms because my discussion focused on the nature of the rhythmic
medium in African music, and the central argument was a symbolic interactionist description of modes of communal participation in African musical contexts. The model of community I discussed in African Rhythm and African Sensibility is one that is not held together by ideas, by cognitive symbols or by emotional conformity. The community the book describes is established through the interaction of individual rhythms and the people who embody them. Somehow, and particularly dependent upon people coming from different individual places within the rhythmic structure of the music, a tightly cohesive whole is created, a whole that is more than its individual parts at the same time as it enhances them. Moreover, the process is not complicated but simple. Musicians and music-lovers could understand it easily. Even children can understand it, and a friend and I used the argument in the book to demonstrate the social dynamics in African music to more than 20,000 children in elementary schools in our home town.”

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Author: Richard Wallaschek

Subtitle: AN INQUIRY INTO THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MUSIC, SONGS, INSTRUMENTS, DANCES, AND
PANTOMIMES OF SAVAGE RACES

LONDON, LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST i6th STREET, 1893

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In the last decades of the 19th century,  music research was already being carried out in a wide range of contrasting disciplines. The best music researchers at that time were German-speaking. One of them was Richard Wallaschek, a comparative musicologist and music psychologist who developed some theories of musical emotion and cognition.

In his 1893 book “Primitive Music”, he puts some questions to the African origin of “black” music in America.

Read the book HERE

Author: Eddie S. Meadows

Source: Blues Unlimited – winter 1987 – n° 148/149

(with sincere thanks to Stefan Wirz for the careful OCR scanning – http://www.wirz.de/music/american.htm)

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“MORE RECENT research in Black culture has recognised the need to be ‘afrocentric’ rather than ethnocentric.  Thus more documentation has occurred which covers a wider spectrum of African influence than mere mention of call-response patterns. To begin, understanding the meaning behind communication and musical patterns of a culture requires extensive comprehension of the world view involved. The understanding
of blues semantics can be enhanced if one relies on knowledge of African world view, because the use of certain vocabulary items and categories in blues lyrics can be explained in terms of African sources. In
particular, I am concerned with explaining the categories of sex and conjure which are so frequently present in blues lyrics, because the tendency of many researchers, in the past, has been to define blues subjectmatter as a socioeconomic phenomenon rather than African world view.”

CONTINUE READING HERE