Yoruba Opera: A practice-based research enquiry into the idea of vocal composition in a non-European cultural framework.

Oyewale, A 2021, Yoruba Opera: A practice-based research enquiry into the idea of vocal composition in a non-European cultural framework. , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

Download (10MB) | Preview


Yòrùbá professional traditional musicians and performers have been making music persistently for centuries. Therefore, in this project, I will investigate and explore their context, process and methods of compositions and put it to practise in performance, recording, notation and transcription and by way of analysis. Yòrùbá music was destined to travel in the streams of Oral tradition in an unending yet spontaneous circle. But now, I want to begin to create a notation system that will not stop Yòrùbá music (particularly, Yòrùbá rhythmic section) from its desired and destined journeys, but this (my notation system in the name of ‘Segnotation’), will now allow both indigenous and foreign stakeholders to have an avenue and an opportunity to take a closer glimpse (by way of interactive analysis and performance) into Yòrùbá rhythm’s true to life structural elements, as it has never been done before. Yòrùbá traditional music usually may have many collaborating performers, all making music by contributing and playing unique roles to adorn what I call a given ‘solid or authoritative sketch’. The sketch itself (usually literary) will only be authentic because it carries literal textual signatures which are taken from primary literary sources and because it reflects the socio-religious and cultural ethos in a persisting Yòrùbá communal context. And, like water, Yòrùbá rhythm has got structure and form but it will certainly not be exact at different times it is performed, it will always behave like liquid. Yet, the producers (musicians and percussionists) and the consumers (the community at large) can intuitively recognize and appreciate Yòrùbá rhythm in whichever way it is being served in a musical-rhythmic menu, because both the indigenous producers and consumers are enculturated or have got supplementary knowledge. Supplementary knowledge itself is attained by familiarity and assimilation of the intricacies of Yoruba music. A Yòrùbá percussive ensemble, the Dùndún drums not only act as surrogates (surrogates because it can handle non syllabic and syllabic materials in the Yòrùbá language) and rhythmic tools, but as exemplified in this project are also richly harmonical, improvisatory, metronomic and much more. This Opera will serve as my pastoral homily to young Yòrùbá/Nigerian youths who are desperate to immigrate to Europe or Overseas; also, as a display of Yòrùbá cultural heritage and as my candid invitation to prospective researchers who may be interested in doing similar non-European projects to come to Salford University. But this project is also an opportunity, in one hand, to start to resolve the rhythmic section of Yòrùbá music and, in another hand, to put forward (albeit from diaspora) the Yòrùbá process and methods of making and analysing musical projects, as an academic method and theory for practice, for a Westernised academic audience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Depositing User: Ayoade Oyewale
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2022 15:20
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 13:13
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/63910

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year