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African musical arts creativity and performance: The science of the sound

M Nzewi


Published literature on African musical arts and other indigenous knowledge systems have been found to be fraught with ignorant representations and interpretations of the nature, meaning and virtues of African Worldview. This paper debunked misconceptions on African musical arts creativity and performance by digging into the scientific principles underlying the arts. Even when spontaneous, the process is rather grounded on theoretical principles and systematic creative-performance procedures. The paper propounds three scientific theories: ‘the African science of the mind' as the metaphysical science of spiritual health, ‘the science of musical structures' in which the musical arts idioms, ensemble rationalizations and performance norms aim to humanize the individual and bond humanity, and ‘the African science of instrument technology' which proves that scientific research informed the design, material and construction of peculiar timbres or sonic vibrancies of indigenous music instruments.

Nigerian Music Review Vol. 6 2005: pp. 1-8