oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Die huidige stand van musiekwetenskap in Suid-Afrika

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



South African music history has focused mainly on western art music for many years. Whilst one can get a fairly clear view of the performance and teaching of art music in this country during the previous centuries, only a few occurrences of African musical activities are included in historical writings. In 1954 Prof. P.R. Kirby still found it surprising that only a few scholars chose to study the vast field of ethnic music in South Africa. South African musicological journals give a clear indication of the attitudes ot South African musicologists towards African music. Although sporadic references to African music have been made in the editorial commentaries of some since 1977, regular articles on the characteristics of African music and other related topics have appeared only in the last decade. Several music departments at universities have introduced ethnomusicology as a subject during the last decade. The syllabi of some contain an even larger component of African music than westem art music. A prerequisite for the continuation of a meaningful musical life in South Africa is that it should be made possible for all the inhabitants to experience the joy of music in different ways. To achieve this objective, certain changes with regard to the availability, the experience and tuition of music are inevitable. Such changes in the practice of music would give a dual character to musicology. However, this duality of art music and ethnic music, like African and Indian music, would not inevitably lead to a merging of styles, but would bring many advantages for the promotion of music and musicology.

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