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What Is a Part? Polyphony between Perception and Conception

Abstract : For an ethnomusicologist, it is a particular challenge to approach the analysis and theorization of traditional music both from the "scientific" perspective-with the tools of (ethno)musicology-and from the "autochthonous" one-through the musical concepts that operate in the local culture. Such a twofold approach offers an enriching perspective, not only for evaluating of how insiders and outsiders conceive the music, but also in terms of a differentiated use of musicological concepts and terms. This article concerns polyphonic techniques in two oral traditions (Aka from the Central African Republic and Baka from Cameroon) and the relationship between the conceptualization of the parts, their reference patterns, as well as modalities of realization and variation. As soon as several voices are heard together, the musicologist tries to classify the acoustical result and to determine the polyphonic technique. Although quite often several techniques are combined, this type of classification makes it quite possible to depict large musically relevant categories. But when the anthropologist crosses the musicological classification with autochthonous categories of musical parts and their realization, what is clearly defined acoustically as being multipart music may eventually be considered as several simultaneous appearances of the same part, certainly multiple, but still thought of as one. This categorial divergence may reveal such an important gap between scientific and local conceptions that it leads to a refining of musicological categories.
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Contributor : Susanne Fürniss Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, November 29, 2019 - 3:44:52 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 3:43:58 AM


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Susanne Fürniss. What Is a Part? Polyphony between Perception and Conception. RES MUSICA, Musicological Department of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (EAMT) and the Estonian Musicological Society (EMS), 2016, pp.73-84. ⟨halshs-02387100⟩



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