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Tonic sol-fa in South Africa : a case study of endogenous musical practice

Stevens, Robin and Akrofi, Eric A. 2004, Tonic sol-fa in South Africa : a case study of endogenous musical practice, in AARME 2004 : Proceedings of the XXVIth Australian Association for Research in Music Education Annual conference, 25-28 September 2004, Southern Cross University, Tweed-Gold Coast Campus, Tweed Heads, AARME, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 301-314.

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Title Tonic sol-fa in South Africa : a case study of endogenous musical practice
Author(s) Stevens, Robin
Akrofi, Eric A.
Conference name Australian Association for Research in Music Education Annual Conference (26th : 2004 : Tweed Heads, Queensland)
Conference location Tweed Heads, Queensland
Conference dates 25 - 28 September 2004
Title of proceedings AARME 2004 : Proceedings of the XXVIth Australian Association for Research in Music Education Annual conference, 25-28 September 2004, Southern Cross University, Tweed-Gold Coast Campus, Tweed Heads
Editor(s) Chaseling, Marilyn
Publication date 2004
Start page 301
End page 314
Publisher AARME
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Summary Tonic Sol-fa was introduced to South Africa during the mid nineteenth century initially by Christian missionaries and later by professional educators to schools, teacher training institutions and local communities. Despite Tonic Sol-fa being the principal means of formal pedagogy and the most commonly-accepted notational medium through which South African communities have developed and sustained what is unquestionably a vibrant choral music tradition, there has been some fairly forthright condemnation of the overall effects of European music - particularly tonal-functional harmony - on indigenous culture. Agawu (2003) and Nzewi (1999), for example, have identified what they describe as the adverse effects of European music on African culture.

This paper counters these criticisms in one respect. It argues that, as one of the most prominent manifestations of European musical culture in sub-Saharan Africa, Tonic Sol-fa represents what Ntuli (2001) identifies as endogenous knowledge - knowledge acquired from non-indigenous sources that has been assimilated and integrated with indigenous knowledge to become the collective heritage of a people. This contention is supported by four short case studies of indigenous South African composers - two past and two contemporary musicians - who have utilised Tonic Sol-fa in their choral music writing and teaching, albeit in differing ways. The paper aims to counter the general criticism that European music has been injurious to indigenous African culture; rather it argues that in reality this manifestation of European music represents an exemplar of endogenous knowledge.
ISBN 0958608660
9780958608664
Language eng
Field of Research 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30005559

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
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