IJMSTA - Vol. 4 - Issue 2 - July 2022
The Dynamics of Music Making in Dagbon Society Transformational processes in African Music seen from the angle of embodied music interaction and expressive timing
Authors: Dominik Phyfferoen
Abstract - The music and dance culture of Dagbon, which is located in the Sudanic Savannah Belt of Northern Ghana, functions in symbioses with social, religious, and traditional political structures of each Dagbon community, and is linked to the extended family clans. In this part of Africa, music, dance, sound, movement, and sentiment are strongly connected to each other, often through rituals and annual festivals. By means of various examples from audio-visual and ethnographic fieldwork that we conducted in Dagbon during the period 1999-2010, we report in this paper on the dynamics of music-making in Dagbon seen from the angle of embodied music interaction and expressive timing. On the one hand, the paper is illustrative and descriptive in nature but at the same time also arguing about some specific culture-bound key aspects within both the traditional and the contemporary idioms of music-making in Dagbon. Special attention is given towards the ban and the restrictions of music-making during the period 2002-2006, the period we named and identified as the cultural hibernation of Dagbon, a liminal cultural in-betweenness, a dynamic and powerful transitional period located in-between two homeostasis states in Dagbon music and dance history. The dynamics of music-making in Northern Ghana is currently characterized by transformational and hybridization processes between the traditional idioms of music-making and the contemporary idioms of music-making. This leads to new intercultural dynamics and cultural identities between Hiplife music, contemporary Highlife, dancehall music, Jamal music, a reggae revival and Bollywoodish influences. The paper starts with an introduction and background to the audio-visual archiving project and explain the bottom-up constructivistic grounded theory model as our main field methodology for conducting ethnographic and audio-visual research in Dagbon. At the end of the paper, we explain the implementation of structural and cultural analysis within the field of ethnomusicology in that part of Africa and how we choose to conduct music and dance analysis within the embodied music interaction and expressive timing research paradigm using and implementing imaginary filters on the data e.g., the Dagbon Hiplife Zone in Northern Ghana, The Sahelian Factor in the music of Dagbon and the Intensity Factor in the ritual music of Dagbon. This paper contains synopsis of my doctoral dissertation.
Keywords: African Studies
Audio visual fieldwork, Constructivistic grounded theory, Dagbon Hiplife Zone, Northern Ghana, Ethnomusicology, Embodied music interaction
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Phyfferoen, D. (2022). The Dynamics of Music Making in Dagbon Society Transformational processes in African Music seen from the angle of embodied music interaction and expressive timing. IJMSTA. 2022 July 01; 4 (2): 6-118.