Kenyan Folk Song as A Source of Compositional Inspiration: A Study on The Use Of Selected Folk Songs in Art Music
Njau, J. N.
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Today, many factors such as technology, communication and social connections triangulate to make the world a global village. Numerous world cultures borrow from each other resulting in diversity and multiplicity of musical styles. In Africa, the processes of westernization and modernization have greatly influenced the society. Communities (people) have come into contact with each other leading to cross-cultural borrowing from each other through complex enabled relations. Consequently, socialcultural landscape has changed due to dynamic nature of development. Music, being part and parcel of culture, has not been left in isolation; but rather, has followed similar trends. This idiomatic borrowing of African musical traditions from foreign musical cultures has led to birth of hybrid music, which is as a product of the original and foreign. Among the hybrid genres, include popular music and African art music. This borrowing is in terms of rhythm, performance medium, notational systems and common-practice harmony, among others. It is imperative for scholars and researchers therefore, to document available information regarding African art music in terms of compositional process and the product. This can be made possible through research to determine dominant developments and techniques used for integration. More often than not through integration, folk music is raised to a higher level of appreciation recognizable by a people of its (folk music) origin as well as others. It also leads to more exposure to the music through performances making it readily available to a wider cross section of audience and music enthusiasts. These developments however, should not be done at the expense of its identifying characteristic-traits. This study therefore, was informed and driven by this desire to promote and propagate folk music for posterity and dissemination. Information was collected primarily from selected Kenyan art music composers by use of questionnaires to determine their broad compositional aspects. Content analysis of selected compositions was conducted to seek information on musical elements and devices used. Additionally, the researcher arranged music borrowed from folk tradition to validate views expressed by selected Kenyan composers. Qualitative method was used to document emerging themes, dominant perceptions and other related findings.
- MST-Music