Centre de Recherche en Ethnomusicologie
Avec Michael Tenzer, ethnomusicologue, Professeur à l’University of British Columbia.
This paper, an exercise in speculative music theory, studies two African cyclical structures of very different origins and hypothesizes deep structural connections between them. Rhythm and grouping, and the idea of directed compositional process—specifically, the process of transposition—are considered. I depart from a hunch that the cycles, even with different numbers of pulsations or available pitch-classes, can be shown to be based on compelling principles of equivalence.
The analysis juxtaposes the Zimbabwean mbira dzavadzimu tradition’s Nhema Musasa (kushaura part only) and the recording of Hindehu from the Central African Republic (Arom 1998). The presentation moves step-by-step from one piece to the other, using transformations that leave the important structural features undisturbed. The process raises questions about musical ontology and the history of compositional practice. As for the significance of the findings, they are critically considered in light of related previous research by Kubik 1988, England 1995, Brenner 1997, and Fernando 2009.
Michael Tenzer is Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He has been active as performer, composer, and scholar. His book Gamelan Gong Kebyar: The Art of Twentieth Century Balinese Music (Chicago 2000) was the recipient of an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award and the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Merriam Prize for book of the Year, and his two edited volumes on Analytical Studies in World Music (Oxford 2006, and 2011 [co-edited with John Roeder]) have helped revitalize the practice of analysis in ethnomusicology.
Son site internet: http://www.michaeltenzer.com