A study of the music and social meaning of selected choral works from Dayo Oyeduns cantatas

Talabi, Grace Oluwabunmi (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation explores the interface between the socio-political realities in Nigeria and African art music discourses. It does so by performing the first ever substantive reading of selected choral numbers from Nigerian composer Dayọ̀ Oyèdúǹ’s cantata compositions, which are secular choral works. Four pieces from these cantatas were selected for this study: ‘Ọm’ọnírẹsì’, ‘Tòkunbọ̀’ and ‘American Visa’ from the Hospital Cantata; and ‘Nepa’ from the University Cantata. Oyèdúǹ’s biography is constructed as a framework in which to present his cantata-writing, as is the notion of the cantata as a genre in Nigerian music. I argue that the contexts in which the concept of ‘cantata’ was established in Nigeria are very different from its Western cultural origin, and that the notion of ‘cantata’ as used by Nigerian composers is best understood as informed by an understanding of ‘Nigerian art music’. To this end the study also provides a historical overview of art music in Nigeria, which it endeavours to tie to Oyèdúǹ’s biography through his Baptist upbringing. Drawing on theoretical and philosophical models from contemporary African music scholars, the study engages with Adédèjì’s notion of ‘transformative musicology’, a concept developed from a discourse known as intercultural music. I suggest in this dissertation that the performance of art music repertories that reflect on Nigeria’s socio-political issues in performance spaces such as concert halls, might lead to productive engagements, negotiations, mediations and interventions in social, economic and political spheres. The potential of such engagements to transformation, understood here as positive change, is considered. Another conceptual lens applied to performances of Oyèdúǹ’s cantatas is the ‘total art concept’. Through the reading of recorded music performances that involve various art forms, the dissertation seeks to combine a reading of scores with the performance contexts of Oyèdúǹ’s music, focusing attention on the interaction between the score, traditional Nigerian notions of musical performance as integrative of all the dramatic arts, and the way in which the art music discourse functions within this context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek sosio-politieke realiteite en musiekdiskoers in Nigerië soos dit oorvleuel in wat hier genoem word ‘Afrika kunsmusiek’. Meer spesifiek, fokus dit op ’n seleksie koornommers uit die sekulêre kantates van die Nigeriese komponis Dayọ̀ Oyèdúǹ. Vier van hierdie werke word in hierdie studie aan stiplees en formele analitiese beskrywing onderwerp: ‘Ọm’ọnírẹsì’, ‘Tòkunbọ̀’ and ‘American Visa’ uit die Hospital Cantata; en ‘Nepa’ uit die University Cantata. Oyèdúǹ se biografie word opgestel as ’n raamwerk waarbinne sy komposisiepraktyk, spesifiek ook sy skryf van kantates, verstaan kan word. Voorts word die agtergrond geskets vir hoe die kantate as ’n genre in Nigeriese musiek funksioneer. Die argument word gemaak dat die kantate in die Nigeriese gedaante daarvan, ’n geheel ander konteks betrek as dié van die gelyknamige genre in die Weste, en dat ‘kantate’ in die Nigeriese konteks ten beste verstaan kan word binne die konteks van ’n diskoers oor Nigeriese kunsmusiek. Gevolglik word daar in hierdie tesis ook ’n oorsig verskaf van die geskiedenis van kunsmusiek in Nigerië, en word hierdie geskiedenis gekoppel aan Oyèdúǹ se biografie en sy opvoeding in die Baptistekerk. Die studie gebruik teoretiese en filosofiese modelle van tydgenootlike Afrikadenkers, en in hierdie verband word Adédèjì se idee van ‘transformerende musikologie’ – ’n konsep wat ontwikkel het binne die konteks van diskoerse oor interkulturele musiek – in spel geplaas. Die navorsing suggereer dat die uitvoering van kunsmusiek repertoriums wat doelbewus Nigerië se sosio-politieke kwessies aanspreek in ruimtes soos konsertsale, kan lei tot produktiewe interaksies, onderhandelinge, mediasies en intervensies in sosiale, ekonomiese en politieke sfere. Die potensiaal van sodanige interaksies om positiewe transformasie te bewerkstelling, word oorweeg. Nog ’n teoretiese lens wat in hierdie studie aangewend word en op uitvoerings van Oyèdúǹ se kantates toegepas word, is die ‘totale kuns-konsep’. Deur ’n deeglike beskouing en beskrywing van opnames wat verskeie ander kunsvorms betrek, word ’n poging aangewend om ’n lesing van Oyèdúǹ se partiture te kombineer met die uitvoeringskontekste van sy musiek. Hierdeur word aandag gevestig op die interaksie tussen die partituur, tradisionele Nigeriese praktyke van musikale uitvoering as geïntegreerde kunspraktyke, en die wyse waarop kunsmusiek in hierdie konteks van betekenisgewing funksioneer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107884
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