Malawian pango music from the viewpoint of information theory

  • Wim Van Zanten University of Leiden, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden


Music played on a Malawian pango, a board zither, will be analysed by using concepts of probability theory and information theory. I have tried to make my analysis comprehensible to non-mathematicians. It is, however, impossible to translate all mathematical concepts into a few words which convey the same accuracy. So I had to compromise. The Conclusion of this article gives the main results of my analysis without using mathematical formulae. The music is played at a constant speed of about 6 pulses per second. The data for my analysis consists of the chords and sung melody notes which sound at each pulse.


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How to Cite
Van Zanten, W. “Malawian Pango Music from the Viewpoint of Information Theory”. African Music: Journal of the International Library of African Music, Vol. 6, no. 3, July 1983, pp. 90-6, doi: