The Study of Indigenous African Music and Lessons from Ordinary Language Philosophy1

Madimabe Geoff Mapaya


This paper is based on the study that examined peculiarities of the indigenous African music. Specifically, the study aimed to highlight the inadequacies of canonised (ethno)musicological methodologies. Participative observations, including dipoledišano (interviews), were used to gather data about indigenous African music over a period of five years. Particular attention was given to explications of the baletši (indigenous practitioners). Considering the baletši's perspective, the study found that the study of African music seems misaligned with indigenous African music practices. Consequently, attendant fabrications usually packaged as theories or philosophies about, and on the phenomenon by some scholars are self-serving, and at worst, moot. These theories seem to be scantily relevant insofar as the advancement of scholarship in African music is concerned. Furthermore, the results show the existence of African ways of conceiving, comprehending and communicating knowledge about indigenous African music. For this and other reasons, it becomes prudent to propose what could be known as Ordinary African Musicology,which would be capable of harnessing the best of both worlds; traditional scholarship and African folkloric epistemologies.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p2007

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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