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38104 Yoruba Song Form

38104 Yoruba Song Form

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NigerianMusicReview
2004No.5
THEPOETICANDMUSICALFORMSOFYORUBASONGS
TUNJIVIDAL
INTRODUCTION
ThestudyofthepoeticandmusicalformsofYorubavocalmusichasnotbeenadequatelycoveredinscholarlyliterature.Merriamreferstothisscarcityofmaterialswhenhesays
Sofarasisknowntothepresent
author;
theredoesnotexistanypublishedanalyticalstudyofthestructureofYorubamusic.(Merriam1956).
Thesituationhasnotchangedverymuchsince1956whenMerriammadehisstatement.OneoftheearlypioneeringworkinthestudyofYorubapoeticformsisBabalola's
ContentandFormofYorobaljala
(1966).Inthiswork,BabalolaspentconsiderabletimedescribingthestructureofYorubaIjalapoetryintermsofpoeticrhythm,tonalassonanceandtonalcontrast.Anotherpioneeringwork,
IFA,AnexpositionofIfaLiteraryCorpus
(Abimbola:1976)describestheformof"EseIfa"intermsofthetextualcontentsofthepoemanditshistoricalnature.
Ese/fahasastructuralpat/emwhichdistinguishesitfromotherformsofYorubaoralliterature,SinceEse/faishistoricalincontent,lisstructureisalsobasedonitshistoricalnature.(Abimbola1976)
BothBabalolaandAbimbola'sworkwerebasedonaspecificgenreofYorubapoeticformsandwereanalysedandidentifiedbycontentsandchantingmodes.Othersimilarstudieshavesincefollowed.Amongtheseare
Sango-Pipe:OneTypeofYorubaoralpoetry
(Isola:1930)and
lremoje
(AJUWON:1966)Inthefieldofsongs,amongthefewexamplesofanalyticalstudiesonecomesacrossis"ThepoeticcontentandformofYorubaoccasionalFestivalsongs"(Ogunba,O.
AFRICANNOTES
6,(2)1971).Inthisstudy,theauthor,usingtextualcontentsascriteria,classifiesYorubasongsintosixcategories--satirical.political,entreaties,interrogatory,incantatoryandelegiac.According
 
TUN.fIVIDAL:
ThePoeticandMusica!Forms.:
2
toOgunba,theuseofimageryandheteroymsinthepoeticformscombiningwiththeelementsofrepetitionandsolo/chorusalternationinthemusicalformscharacterizestheexpressivestyleofthesesongs.GerhardKubik's"AloYorubastorysongs"
(AFRICANMUSIC11;
ii1968)islimitedtoonegenreanddealswiththemusicalformsofthisgenreintermsofperformingpractices.AkinEuba's"MultiplePitchlinesinYorubaMusic"
(JournaloftheInternationalFolkMusicCouncil,XIX,1967)
isconcernedabouttheuseofparallelsecondsandoccasionalparallelthirdsandfifthsinthemusicalstyleoftraditionalljesasongs.Ogunbowale'sworkonYorubapoetryin
TheessentialsoftheYorubaLanguage
islargelydescriptiveandisbasedonrandomsamplingandillustrationofknownexamplesratherthanonsystematicstudyandanalysisofperformedgenres.Manyoftheworkscitedabovehaveused,asthebasisfortaxonomy,criteriasuchassubjectmatter,contents,functionandorchantingmodes.Themethodofclassifyingvocalmusicintogenresthroughsubjectmatter,function,chantingmodes,etc.isalreadywell-knowninYorubaculture.Generallyspeaking,vocalmusicisclassifiedinYorubacultureandsocietyintermsof
(i)
Performingmodesandcontents.(ExampleoftheseareIjala,Iyere-Ifa,Rara,etc)(ii)Occasionforperformanceorcontext(ExamplesofthesearevariousOrinOdunsuchasAgemo,Egungun,Oro,Magbo,etc)
(iii)
Mu;icallnstrumentusedasaccompaniments(ExamplesoftheseareIgbe,Agbe,Adamo,etc)(iv)Socialfunctionsofthemusic.(ExamplesoftheseareOriki,Woro,etc).Thismethodhoweverischaracterizedbyitsbenignneglectofstructuralformascriteriaforclassificationanditsover-emphasisoncontents.Isitnotpossibletodiscoveridenticalstructuresinthepoeticandmusicalformsofmanyofthesevocalformsclassifieddifferentlybytraditionalmethods?Cananewtaxonometricsystembesetupthatwillplaceemphasisonstructureandrelatethemusicalformofaparticulargenretoit'spoeticformandvice-versa?Thepresentstudyhasbeenundertakeninresponsetothisproblem.ThestudyaimsatidentifyingandanalyzingthetypesofpoeticandmusicalformsfoundinYorubasongsthroughthetechniqueofstructuralanalysis.AccordingtoLEVIN'stheory,theunityorsymmetrythatapoemevokesisafunctionofaparticulartypeofcompositionorstructure(LEVIN1962).ApplyingLevin'stheorytoYorubasongs,itshouldbepossibletostudyandclassifyYorubasongsnotsolelyonthebasisofcontentsandfunctionsbutonthebasisofitsexternalandlntemalstructures.Thepresentstudy
will
thereforelookintothecorresponding
I
 
NigerianMusicReview
2004No.5
3
relationshipbetweenpoeticformsandmusicalforms.ForeachtypeofversestructurefoundinYorubasongs,whatarethepossiblemusicalforms?Howareversestructurestreatedinmusicalstructures?Forthepurposeofthisstudy,atotalofatotalofaboutonehundredsongswerecollectedfromvariousareasofYorubaspeakingpeople.TheareasincludeOndo,Owo,Ekiti,Egbado,Osogbo,Ede,Iseyin,Ogbomoso,Iragbiji,Oyo,Jjebu-Ode,Remo,LagosandOta.ThedatacoverawidespectrumoffestivalmusicinYorubalandfrom
lgogo
inOwotoEgungunin
Ede,
GeledeatLagosandAgemoatljebu-Ode.
POETICF'ORMSOF'SONGS
Thedatarevealedthattherearetwomaintypesofpoeticforms:-(a)
the
short
verse
formand(b)
the
long
verse
form.
Theshortverseformaccountsforaboutonethirdofthetotalnumberofsongscollectedwhilethelongverseorlitanyformaccountsfortheremainingtwothirds.
Theshort-verseform
Theshort-verseformconsistsofaseriesofverselinesrangingfromtwotoabouteightornineinnumber.Theremaybeonestanzaorseveralstanzasofsuchstructure.Thesimplestexampleis
the
binarylineconstruction
whichconsistsoltwocontrastinglinearunits(ab)
(i)
Omooloderna
10
gbode(a)lgbamurenmawa(b)ThepriestoftheagemoisintownAtanothertime,Ishallappear
(ii)
Bimono'ghornayo
0
(a)TitomayoIeunmi
0
(b)Iflhavemoney,(shallrejoiceTruly,IshallrejoiceovermythingsThecontrastsarcoftenatthephonologicalandthoughtlevels.Anothervarietyoftheshortverseformistheternarylineconstruction.Theternarylineconstructionconsistsofthreelinearunits,thefirsttwoofwhichareidenticalwhilethethirdisacontrast(aab)Awaorawa,atunmo'gba(a)AwaOrawa,atunmogba
0
(a)
.Adelumo'gbadeo-(c)
WerecognizebothcultandcommunitymembersWerecognizebothcultandcommunitymembersThevisitorswhorecognizecommunitymembershavearrived.

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