The phenomenon of inherent rhythms in East and Central African instrumental music


  • Gerhard Kubik



Musical meter and rhythm -- Africa, Composition (Music)


African composers take advantage in a marvellous way of a psycho-acoustic fact. The human ear - like the eyes - does not perceive isolated particles but always a "gestalt". In a sequence of notes with large intervals the ear is inclined to pick out those of approximately the same level of pitch, and group them together separately. If this sequence of notes is, moreover, rhythmically regular, perception in different conflicting "gestalten" is enormously stimulated. This gestalt-psychological element plays a great part in listening to and composing some kinds of African instrumental music.

Author Biography

Gerhard Kubik

Graduate of the University of Vienna. Has undertaken two Music Research Tours in Eastern and Southern Africa and one in West Africa. Address: 48 Thalheimergassc, Vienna 16, Austria.




How to Cite

Kubik, Gerhard. 1962. “The Phenomenon of Inherent Rhythms in East and Central African Instrumental Music”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 3 (1):33-42.

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