n Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa - Ingoma and St Matthew’s Tune Book : two South African missionary tonic sol-fa hymn-tune collections

Volume 16 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1812-1004
  • E-ISSN: 2070-626X
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Christopher Birkett’s Ingoma (1871) and Cyrill Wyche’s St Matthew’s Tune Book (1902), both collections of hymn tunes assembled in South Africa, have proven influential in contemporary Xhosa Anglican hymnody. This article provides the first detailed commentary on the contents of these tune books as well as an introduction to the context in which they were produced. The influence of John Curwen’s tonic sol-fa system in South Africa is also addressed. Brief biographies of the compilers of the collections are provided. Birkett composed new tunes or adapted existing Western tunes for his Ingoma, giving many of them Xhosa names, or dedicating them to significant figures in the local church music scene. The author analyses selected tunes from the collection and assesses Birkett’s compositional style. The contents of Wyche’s collection are also assessed, with particular reference to any locally composed material.

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