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EJOTMAS: Ekpoma Journal of Theatre and Media Arts

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Metricism in Yorùbá wórò rhythm

Babatunji O. Dada

Abstract


Wórò rhythm is a generic rhythmic configuration in the music of the Yorùbá of South-western Nigeria. Due to increased literacy and renewed interests in indigenous-inclined scholarship, African musicology, art music, and similar interests, there has been a remarkable increase in attempts at documenting African musical expressions (wóòròò inclusive). However, there have been several different formats deployed to this end, thereby leading to diverse (mis)representations of wórò’s musicological structures. This article undertakes an analytical investigation of the structure of wóòròò rhythm using the theoretical foundations of Structuralism and Timeline. Indepth interviews, available literature and participant observation methods were deployed in carrying out this study. Empirical instruments of musicology were used to determine the actual metric configurations that existed in wórò rhythm. It was thereafter discovered that, instead of the compound duple, simple triple, simple quadruple and other metric formats that were erroneously and forcefully applied in representing wórò rhythm, the actual metrical format is the compound quadruple time. This fundamental theoretical basis will help establish proper documentation, and advance the course of further studies, analysis and scholarship in African musicology.

Keywords: Wórò rhythm, Metricism, Yorùbá, African musicology, Musical behaviour




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