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Music as a means of communication in Nigerian drama

Ngozi Mokwunyei


What constitutes modern drama in Nigerian theatre today is a synthesis of several art forms ranging from music to dance, mime, mask, acting, make-up,  costume and spectacle. Consequently, the process of staging a play presents issues on formal as well as thematic levels in terms of what goes into the  production, in order to achieve the right appeal on the audio, visual and aesthetic sensibilities of the relevant audience. This paper explores the use of  music as a viable option and means of communication in an otherwise predominantly “dry”, dialogue-based drama of the Nigerian literary genre. In  addition to available scanty literary review, data for this paper is heavily reliant on participant, nonparticipant observation, buttressed by the experience  of this author as member of a local audience and as a practicing dramatist with music credentials. The findings confirm that whereas earlier practices in  Nigeria are known to have functioned in the Western style where a play could be performed without the help of music, contemporary practices have  imbibed elements of traditional idioms and practices that portray their African/Nigerian identity. It therefore concludes that music is a viable tool as a  means of communication in any drama that seeks identity with the roots of the Nigerian audience. 

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eISSN: 2971-6748
print ISSN: 0189-9562