From Dance to Composition


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




Kofi Agawu (2016) postulates that the future of African music is in the hands of its composers. My discussion centres the idea of performing embodied knowledge as part of an academic inquiry. Looking at dance as a tool to compose African art music through the approach of Creative Musicology. The term Creative Musicology was advocated for by a particular African scholar, Akin Euba (2001 and 2014). Euba (2014) concerning Creative Musicology mentions that composers that want to align their musical identity to their tradition [should?] do field research to acquaint themselves with the oral tradition. The difference with this approach to composition compared with the Western one of composing music is that the process does not start on paper as a Western composer would typically do but it starts from the actual performance or from the act of participating in the music and moving the body to the music with specific melodic and rhythmic punctuations to arrive at the written score.