In traditional African communities we encounter a somewhat different perception of music from that found in the societies of the West. Firstly, it is perceived mainly in social and not aesthetic terms; secondly, interaction and communication which take place through music are of primary significance. Music fulfils functions which in other kinds of communities are entrusted to a variety of institutions: it supports group identification, transmits basic values, consolidates the group structure, and has a socialising function. The element which makes these processes possible is polyrhythm. However, this is not the only factor at the source of these musical stylistics. Another one is the oral character of African cultures. In essence, they perceive the word as a sound, and not a sign, and as a result speech is perceived not only as a means of transmitting information, but also as something which has an effect on the listener. Among the features of orality one can count the use of repetition, concentration on physical and social dimension, use of formulae in the thinking process, dominance of creativity over re-creation, emphasis on situational context, contrast, traditionalism, preference for concrete over abstract, expressiveness and emotionality. These factors are of key importance in shaping awareness, and influence the teaching, creation and performance of music.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.