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NEGOTIATING MUSICAL CULTURES IN COLONIAL HYMNODY: ANALYSING LOCALISED HARMONISATIONS OF WESTERN HYMN TUNES

Andrew-John Bethke

Abstract


This essay analyses localised hymn tunes from the College of the Transfiguration (Anglican seminary) in Grahamstown, South Africa. Through several examples, it is demonstrated how western and southern African musical systems have intersected, with particular reference to aspects of harmony which have been re-interpreted to conform to local norms. Three features emerge as dominant markers of localisation: parallel harmonisation, localised westernisms and the skipping-third process. The musical meaning of the localisation process as it takes place at the College of Transfiguration is discussed. Transcriptions of performances show that the melodic norms of western hymnody are maintained, while the harmonic underpinning are radically transformed, suggesting that the meaning is not located in one particular tradition, but represents a sense of cultural flux.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21504/amj.v10i2.2044

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