On the musical patterning of sculpted words: exploring the relationship between melody and metre in a Somali poetic form

  • Fiacha O'Dubhda Social Anthropology and Ethnomusicology at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London

Abstract

Somalia has often been called a "nation of bards", and poetry is frequently considered to be the most important form of artistic expression and social commentary in Somali society, a point made clear by Andrzejewski and Lewis when they state that "the Somali poetic heritage is a living force intimately connected with the vicissitudes of everyday life" (1964:3). It is evident from existing literature that Somali poetry is a powerful force fulfilling a multiplicity of social roles; it is intrinsic to the fabric of social action itself, from the negotiation of inter-clan relationships to the accompaniment of camel watering, from commenting on issues of public policy to those of technological development. What is not so evident is that all Somali poems can also be carriers of melody. These melodic qualities of Somali poetry are first noted fleetingly in the travel writings of Richard Burton.

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Published
2009-11-30
How to Cite
O’Dubhda, F. “On the Musical Patterning of Sculpted Words: Exploring the Relationship Between Melody and Metre in a Somali Poetic Form”. African Music: Journal of the International Library of African Music, Vol. 8, no. 3, Nov. 2009, pp. 97-16, doi:https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v8i3.1830.