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The African Imagination in Music$
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Kofi Agawu

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190263201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190263201.001.0001

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Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

(p.65) 2 Musical Instruments
The African Imagination in Music

Kofi Agawu

Oxford University Press

African musical instruments are many and varied, and they reflect an impressive range in design, tuning, and functional and aesthetic use. This chapter offers a description of prominent instrumental classes associated with the performance of traditional music. It introduces and eventually rejects the influential Hornbostel-Sachs scheme for instrument classification. It also rehearses some pertinent indigenous ideas about musical instruments. Vignettes of the voice, drum, xylophone, seperewa, mbira, flute, and horn are included. Emphasis is placed on the nature of ensembles and the philosophy of ensemble music making.

Keywords:   Hornbostel-Sachs scheme, instrument classification, ensemble, voice, mbira, xylophone, seperewa, horn, flute, drum

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