International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Traditional Rhythmic Patterns: The Source of Creativity and Identity of Original Nigerian Art Music Compositions
Sunday Ofuani

The truism that African music lays emphasis to rhythm than harmony, tone and its color reveals that the creative input of African music making is essentially embedded on rhythmic considerations – the hallmark of its musical identity. This paper considers the compositional efforts of Nigerian late 20th and 21st century’s art music composers in drawing rhythmic patterns or structures from its traditional music. Hence, the finding that the rhythmic creativity of such practice is the major factor that has placed diverse original African art music styles and genres (e.g. African pianism, drummistic-piano, native-air and African-vocalism etc.) as distinct and identifiable art music type across the globe. This research essentially depends on published art music compositions of some Nigerian-Igbo academic musicians. Thus, in order to identify and elucidate the rhythmic patterns and structures that are prompted by traditional rhythmic motifs, it studies, analyzes and discusses some compositions in the tendency. The outcomes of the research are significant and beneficial for theoretical analysis of African rhythms and further utilization of the identified rhythmic techniques by diverse African and non-African art music composers. This paper is not interested in establishing pedantic theories of African rhythms, so it goes direct in applied sense to demystify rhythm as the central tool for initiating creativity, Africanism and identity of contemporary Nigerian art music composition.

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