Investigating Musical Patterns in Nigerian Poetry: A Phonaesthetic Analysis of Selected Works of Two Nigerian Poets

  • E. Josiah Ubong
  • D. John Etiene-Abasi
Keywords: Nigerian poetry, musical patterns, metre, rhythm, phonaesthetics


Phonaesthetics generally deals with the symbolic properties of sounds. Since most poets explore the use of phonological devices in various forms to express poetic concerns in aesthetically stylized language, this study investigated the musical patterns inherent in the works of the two Nigerian poets selected for this study. The goal is to reveal the use of sound devices for aesthetic purposes by the poets. This is the primary concern of this research. The study analyzes specific sound patterns that characterize most Nigerian poetry. Adopting linguistic stylistics and phonaesthetics for its theoretical thrust, the authors discuss the prosodic features that are prominent in select literary works of two Nigerian poets, Niyi Osundare and Imo Okon, both representing older and newer generations of Nigerian poets, respectively. Select poems from Osundare's Village Voices and Okon's Detections are discretely analyzed. Three poems from each of the collections are examined and sound elements like assonance, alliteration, rhythm, rhyme, meter, accentuation and intonation are isolated and discussed. The poems were selected purposively. Time signature as well as tone and mood that correlate with Nigerian traditional, musical symphony are equally exemplified and critically examined. Through a comparative analysis, the study reveals that the two poets are largely similar, and minimally different, in their deployment of phonaesthetic devices. The study concludes that, in analyzing Nigerian poetry, musical composition forms a major consideration for proper interpretation.

Keywords: Nigerian poetry, musical patterns, metre, rhythm, phonaesthetics


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2141-9744