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The amphibology of musical arts in Nigerian contemporary music scholarship

Femi Adedeji


The term ‘musical arts’ is valid in African indigenous system but could be so ambiguous in application. In a sense, music as an art involves the arts of writing, reading, composing arranging and performing. This is already taught in the music curricula of higher institutions of learning. On the other hand, the term is used to describe the agglomeration of music and related arts such as drama, dance, fine and plastic arts; each of which stands out as an independent but musically related art. The objective of this paper is to take a critical look at the controversial nature of the current adoption of musical arts in place of music in Nigerian music scholarship parlance, with a view to clarifying inherent ambiguities. The paper which relied on historical and observation methods, discovered among other things that music studies already subsumed the related arts, thus accommodating them in the curricula of various higher institutions offering music. The term as being used currently exists only as a concept in the traditional milieu and not as an academic discipline. In addition, over emphasis on musical arts promotes the ‘undesired’ superimposition of ‘creative arts’ over ‘music’ as a core subject in both Primary and Secondary schools’ music curricula. The paper concluded on the need to exercise caution on excesses and strengthen music as a core disciplinary subject in order to sustain the existing departments of music in higher institutions of learning. Otherwise, we might be on our way to losing them to Creative Arts’ or Performing Arts’ Departments in the nearest future.

Keywords: Musical arts, contemporary music, music schorlarship, music education, creative arts

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eISSN: 1116-428X