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HORNBOSTEL AND ME. EXPECTATIONS TOWARDS HISTORICAL RECORDINGS OF THE EWONDO DRUM LANGUAGE (SOUTH CAMEROON)

Abstract : Historical recordings are not only a source for the study of cultural change, but also for ethnomusicological epistemology. At least, this is one of the multiple expectations that a contemporary scholar may have towards the first available sound recordings. The wax-cylinder collection of the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv contains some experimental recordings which document the use of speech surrogates among the Ewondo in Cameroun (Jaunde in colonial German). These recordings have been made in 1909 in Berlin by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel at a moment when the linguist Hermann Nekes established the tonology of ewondo in 1911. The way this collection is constructed suggests a close collaboration between both scholars. The present article searches for the connection between the musicologist and the linguist. It puts into parallel informations on the drummed messages, the Cameroonian collaborators and the recording sites given independantly by each scholar. Thus, it is not only about the cultural knowledge transmitted by the historical recordings, but also about methodology for the study of drum languages and epistemological issues concerning interdisciplinary research. The latter are seen both in the general scientific and colonial context at the beginning of the 20 th century and from the perspective of the 21 st century. Finally, this is a case-study on interconnecting different archival and published sources.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02429756
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Submitted on : Monday, January 6, 2020 - 7:03:49 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 3:43:58 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 12:41:31 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-02429756, version 1

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Susanne Fürniss. HORNBOSTEL AND ME. EXPECTATIONS TOWARDS HISTORICAL RECORDINGS OF THE EWONDO DRUM LANGUAGE (SOUTH CAMEROON). International Forum on Audio-Visual Research, 2015, 6, pp.74 - 100. ⟨halshs-02429756⟩

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